William Grant Still

William Grant Still Exhibition

Alain Locke Correspondence

Correspondence Alain Locke (b. September 13, 1885 Philadelphia, Pa. d. Washington, D.C. 1954) is best known for his involvement with the Harlem Renaissance, although his work and influence extend well beyond. Through The New Negro, published in 1925, Locke popularized and most adequately defined the Renaissance as a movement in black arts and letters. His interest and writings cover a wide range of topics, including philosophy, music, art, literature, anthropology, political theory, sociology, and African Studies. Besides his chairing and teaching in the Department of Philosophy at Howard University, he spent a great deal of time advising and encouraging many African American artists in various fields.

This letter touches on several issues, including the development of black musicians and schools such as Fisk or Howard; ideas for setting Mrs. Biddle's (Katharine Garrison Chapin) poem on lynching (which would later develop into Still's cantata, And They Lynched Him On a Tree) to music and informs him that Mrs. Biddle will get in touch with him. He also mentions that her brother-in-law, George Biddle, is the unpublicized friend responsible for the federal art idea with President Roosevelt.

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Materials from Special Collections Library, Duke University

A project of The Digital Scriptorium, Special Collections Library, Duke University. September 1995