by Jeffery C. Stewart
Publishers Weekly Stewart (Paul Robeson: Artist and Citizen) offers a detailed, definitive biography of Alain LeRoy Locke (1885-1954), the godfather of the Harlem Renaissance and all around "renaissance man in the finest sense... a man of sociology, art, philosophy, diplomacy, and the Black radical tradition." A Harvard graduate with a Ph.D. in philosophy, Locke became the first black Rhodes Scholar, studying in England and Germany; Stewart chronicles those travels as well as Locke's travels in Egypt, Haiti, and the Sudan. The book also explores Locke's personal life as a gay man who was attracted to the young intellectuals who inspired him, including sculptor Richmond Barthé and poet Langston Hughes. Stewart details Locke's misogyny toward writers Jessie Fauset and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as his complicated relationships with W.E.B. Du Bois and his Howard colleagues, who resented Locke's influence. Stewart creates a poignant portrait of a formidable yet flawed genius who navigated the cultural boundaries and barriers of his time while nurturing an enduring African-American intellectual movement. (Feb. 2018) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Book list *Starred Review* Stewart, professor of black studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, presents a definitive biography of an intellectual who philosophically helped shape the Harlem Renaissance, Alain Locke (1885-1954). Stewart writes about the direct and indirect influences Locke had on the lives of many writers and artists of that dynamic, world-changing era, including Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Richmond Barthé, and others. Stewart traces Locke's life, from his birth into a black bourgeoisie family struggling to hold onto its class standing and reputation to his formative years under the overprotective and dominating rigor of his mother to his years at Harvard, where he received his doctorate in philosophy. The first African American to be named a Rhodes Scholar, in 1907, Locke went on to study in Oxford, where Stewart describes Locke's first taste of academic failure. Stewart documents, with extensive use of primary sources, the highs and lows in Locke's life, his extensive world travels, his long professional teaching career at Howard University, and his personal life as a closeted homosexual. Those who love biographies or reading about important yet undercelebrated Americans will enjoy Stewart's comprehensive, richly contextualized portrait of a key writer, educator, philosopher, and supporter of the arts.--Jackson-Brown, Grace Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.