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Alain Locke

Autograph Note Signed - c1950

Extremely rare Autograph Note Signed by one of the earliest and most eminent African Americans, Alain Locke. A writer, philosopher, educator, and patron of the arts, Locke distinguished himself as the first African American Rhodes Scholar in 1907, and was the philosophical architect—the acknowledged "Dean"—of the Harlem Renaissance.

This handwritten note appears to be reading recommendations he gave to either a teacher or a student. Undated but since he makes reference to Rachel Davis-Dubois' book published in 1943, this would have to be in the last seven years of his life, 1947-1954. In good condition with some taping and separation, written on both sides in blue fountain pen ink. In full:

You will find great inspiration in reading Let Us Get Together: Americans by Rachel Davis DuBois (Harper Bros) — also A Manual of Intercultural Education by Stewart S. Cole -—Vickery (Harper Bros, 1942)

The Bureau of Intercultural Education -—119 W. 57th St  
 — (over) —
New York City 19, NY — has an admirable list of books and school study units in this general subject. They will gladly send it to you on request for materials. These include grade school materials.

All success to your work!
Alain Locke

In 1907 Alain Leroy Locke (1885-1954) graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy, and was honored as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and recipient of the prestigious Bowdoin Prize. After graduation, he was the first African-American selected as a Rhodes. At that time, Rhodes selectors did not meet candidates in person, but there is evidence that at least some selectors knew he was African-American. On arriving at Oxford, Locke was denied admission to several colleges, and several Rhodes Scholars from the American South refused to live in the same college or attend events with Locke. He was finally admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907-1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.


Locke, who was gay, may have encouraged and supported other gay African-Americans who were part of the Harlem Renaissance. However, he was not fully public in his orientation and referred to it as his point of "vulnerable/invulnerability," taken to mean an area of risk and strength in his view.