Alain Locke: Faith and Philosophy
Alain Locke was one of the leading African American intellectuals of his day. Best known as the father of the Harlem Renaissance - the mastermind behind the explosion of black music, literature, and art during the 1920s and 1930s that centered in New York - he also pioneered calls for multicultural democracy and cultural pluralism, tirelessly demanding that America make good on its promises of interracial equality.
Locke became a Baha'i in 1918, and remained a believer until his death. While his contributions to African American history have been widely appreciated, Locke's commitment to the Baha'i Faith is not widely known or understood.
Here is the first and only serious, scholarly study of Locke's identity and commitment as a Baha'i. The book provides exhaustive evidence of Locke's conversion; his two pilgrimages to the Baha'i Shrines in the Holy Land; his correspondence with Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, then Guardian of the Baha'i Faith; and his years of estrangement from the Washington, D.C., Baha'i community.
Beyond this, the book explores Locke's ideas of "spiritual democracy" and demonstrates how the Baha'i principles of the unity of humanity and "unity in diversity" influenced Locke's thinking - and how Locke also left his mark on Baha'i ideals.
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