I became an official devotee of Africa American sociology and literature after reading Alain Locke’s “The New Negro.” Studying our great post-slavery philosophers, artists, and writers, in no way prepared me for this text. They all asked questions, stumbled about with fear, not quite grasping the ground they stood. Locke provided answers to who they were in the moment. They were no longer the offspring of slaves but men and women established in their humanity and history beyond race.
[Alain] Locke compiled many of the answers in an anthology called The New Negro. Published in 1925, it was an instant success and included work by Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois.”This book is the standard-bearer for how the 20th century African-American is going to see themselves,” Jones says. “This volume is dedicated to the younger generation: Oh rise, shine, for thy light is a coming.”