Gifted Hands: the Ben Carson Story

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"Much of the creative work of the period was guided by the ideal of the Negro which signified

a range of ethical ideals that often emphasize and intensified a higher sense of group and social

cohesiveness... The writers ... literally expected liberation .... from their work and were perhaps

the first group of Afro- American writers to believe that art could radically transform the artist and

attitudes of other human beings".

- Dictionary of Literacy Biography

Alain Leroy Locke was on born on September 13 1886 in Philadelphia ,Pennsylvania to Mr. And

Mrs.Pliny Ishmael Locke and Mary Hawkinns Locke, as the only child he grew up in Philadelphia and

attended Central High School and attended the Philadelphia ‘s School of Pedagogy, and later on in

Locke life he attended Harvard in 1904 where he graduated in 1907 with a outstanding

academic record that he became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating form Harvard, he

studied for three years from 1907 -1910 at Oxford University in England as the first black

Rhodes Scholar . While graduating from Oxford, he spent a year and the University of Berlin,

Pursuing advanced work in Philosophy. Locke began his career at Howard University in 1912

as an Assistant Professor of English and Philosophy. Locke was soon briefly broken in 1916 to

pursue a Doctorate Degree at Harvard University, eventually getting that degree in 1918 , Locke

returned to Howard as a Professor of Philosophy and remained at the University until he retired

in 1952.

Locke ‘s involvement with the Renaissance touched a number of areas. Not only was he

involved with the visual arts and literature, but he was directly involved with the theater movement

through his association with the Theater Arts Monthly the Howard University Players (one of the

earliest Little Theater Groups among African Americans.)and with his collaboration with

Montgomery Gregory. One Such collaboration with Gregory resulted in the drama anthology,

Plays of Negro Life in 1927.

To varying degrees, Locke encouraged young black writers, scholar, and artists of the

Negro Movement; and he served as a mentor to many of them. His philosophy of the New Negro

was grounded in the concept of race building.

"Alain Locke Believed that the Profound Changes in the American Negro had to do with

the freeing of himself from the fictions of his past and the rediscovery of himself. He had to put

away the protective coloring of the mimicking minstrel and find the himself as he really was. And

thus the new militancy was a self-assertion as well as an assertion of the validity of the race."

-Nathan Huggins in his book, Harlem Renaissance.

"Locke could not promise that the race would win the long-desired end of the material

progress, the enrichment of life through art and letters would be an ample achievement. What is more, the Negro would be a people rather than a problem."

-Nathan Huggins in his book, Harlem Renaissance.

Locke edited The Negro, an anthology which was published in 1925 and is sometimes

referred to as the manifesto of the African American Movement. This issue (March 1925) of the Survey

Graphic Magazine, which was devoted entirely to Harlem.

The respected magazine devoted a full issue to "express the progressive spirit of

contemporary Negro life." This issue became the most widely read in the magazine's history. In

the words of Steven Watson, "issue's contents drew upon poets, illustrators, and essayists, but

was firmly governed by Locke's cultural agenda.. Locke emphasized that the spirit of the

young writers who were a part of this anthology would drive the Harlem Renaissance by focusing...
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