This book features a comprehensive collection of essays by Alain Locke (1885-1954), the most formidable African American public intellectual of his generation. It is by far the largest collection of his brilliant essays, gathered from a career that spanned forty years. The range of the work covers an impressively broad field of subjects: philosophy, literary criticism, art and music criticism, value theory, race, politics, and multiculturalism. His inquisitive mind, his refined taste and his pragmatic temperament brought him renown as the "godfather" of the Harlem Renaissance. But his contributions to many fields extended well beyond that remarkable period, to the very beginning of the civil rights movement. Locke's standing among today's readers will be secured through this presentation of his skillful writing and impressive thought. By virtue of his learning and his commitment to intellectual excellence, Locke can now be seen in the sweep of American culture. Here he can take his rightful place, as the leading African American thinker between W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr. Here, Charles Molesworth gathers Locke's writings to showcase his achievements as a whole, both as a civil rights pioneer and as a writer of significant gifts. With a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this collection provides a definitive resource on the works of a towering figure in African American thought.