An early photo of Alain LeRoy Locke, the subject of a talk at College of the Atlantic by Neil Callender.

Callendar to speak about ‘father of Harlem Renaissance’

BAR HARBOR — Poet Neil Callender will talk about Alain LeRoy Locke, one of the leading curators of the Harlem Renaissance, at College of the Atlantic’s Deering Common on Friday, April 6, at 4:30 p.m. The free, public event is part of the Diverse Voices Series.

In the early decades of the 20th century, Locke passionately believed that art and literature could transform the inner and outer lives of African Americans. A century later, African American writers in unprecedented numbers are participating in a renewed quest to transform the self and society.

Locke was born in 1885 in Philadelphia, Pa. He graduated from Harvard University and was the first African American to win a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He subsequently received a doctorate in philosophy from Harvard and taught at Howard University.

Known as the “father of the Harlem Renaissance,” Locke promoted African-American artists and writers, encouraging them to look to Africa for artistic inspiration. Author Zora Neale Hurston received significant support from Locke. He also reviewed the work of African-American scholars in the pages of the periodicals “Opportunity” andPhylon,” and published work on African-American art, theater, poetry and music.

Much of Locke’s writing focused on African and African-American identity. His collection of writing and illustrations, “The New Negro,” was published in 1925 and quickly became a classic. His pieces on the Harlem Renaissance communicated the energy and potential of Harlem culture to a wide audience of both black and white readers.

Callender is a poet and an adjunct English professor at Roxbury Community College. He graduated with a master’s degree from Vermont College. He has been published in two anthologies by the Liberation Poets, a collective of Massachusetts-based writers.

The College of the Atlantic Diverse Voices Series highlights the rich tapestry of races, cultures and viewpoints that comprise the shared human experience. Funded with an anonymous grant, the COA Diverse Voices Series sponsors a broad range of speakers and events throughout the year that serve to illuminate collective challenges and commonalities.


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