Alain Locke: “Enter the New Negro”

(1925)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

“Enter the New Negro” is a sophisticated, densely written analysis of the “New Negro,” the African American who is shedding the cultural stereotypes and limitations of the past and asserting a new identity not just in the political and social spheres but in art and literature as well. It draws heavily on Locke’s background as a student of both literature and philosophy. It was not in any sense a strident “call to arms” but rather a closely reasoned appeal to African Americans—and to white Americans—to recognize the fundamental change that was...

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A band at the Savoy Ballroom (Library of Congress)

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