Alain Locke Becomes Bahá’í

Along with W. E. B. Du Bois, Alain Locke (1885-1954)  was a leading intellectual of his day.  Locke was the first African-American Rhodes scholar and he chaired the department of philosophy at Howard University.  Editor of the influential anthology The New Negro (1925), Locke was also known as “The Father of the Harlem Renaissance.”  Dr. Martin Luther King referenced Locke when he said: “We’re going to let our children know that the only philosophers that lived were not Plato and Aristotle, but W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke came through the universe.¹”

Alain Locke

Alain Locke

“Bahá’í principles and the leavening of our national life with their power, is to be regarded as the salvation of democracy.  In this way can the fine professions of American ideals be realized.”  -Alain Locke, Bahá’í Congress, Green Acre April 1925

A.LockeclippingThis clipping is from the October 1952 issue of Ebony magazine.  Alain Locke is pictured opposite of Robert Abbott.  The article is titled “Baha’i Faith: Only Church in the World that Does Not Discriminate.”

On June 17, 1933, the Chicago Defender published article on the Bahá’í Faith and sited Alain Locke  as a prominent member of the Faith.


Photo Courtesy of Christopher Buck

“If they will but see it, because of their complementary qualities, the two racial groups [Black & White] have great spiritual need, one of the other.” -Alain Locke, 1933

1.  Quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: Address Delivered at Poor People’s Campaign Rally. March 19, 1968. Clarksdale, Mississippi

(photos and information courtesy Christopher Buck.   Buck’s book, Alain Locke:Faith and Philosophy can be found here)


Leave a comment

Filed under Alain Locke, NYC Bahá'í History, The Chicago Defender

Comments are closed.