Cemetery Speaker Series: Alain LeRoy Locke

By Historic Congressional Cemetery (other events)

Saturday, June 24 2023 10:30 AM 12:00 PM EDT

Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place of Alain LeRoy Locke, the first African American Rhodes Scholar. A philosopher, writer, and educator, Locke's work helped define the contours of the Harlem Renaissance, helping spread African American intellectual thought across the United States in the early 20th century. In particular, Locke's The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925) is widely considered to be the pivotal text of the New Negro Movement. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. studied Locke's works and cited him as an important influence when he stated on March 19, 1968 that, "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."

Yet Locke did not only battle racial discrimination. As a gay man, Locke was aware of his minority status even among other African Americans. In a 1949 note, Locke reflected on the irony of being born in the U.S. with three minority identities: “Had I been born in ancient Greece, I would have escaped the first [his sexual identity]; in Europe, I would have been spared the second [U.S. racial segregation policies and discrimination]; in Japan I would have been above rather than below average [height].”

June is a month of celebration for both African American heritage with Juneteenth and LGBTQ+ Americans for Pride Month. These "double minorities" are embodied in the legacy of Alain Locke. In honor of the Dean of the Harlem Renaissance, please join us on Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 AM for a special Cemetery Speaker Series honoring both African Americans and Gay Americans. One part speaking engagement and one part docent led tour, the event features keynote remarks on the life and legacy of Locke from Dr. Greg Carr, Associate Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University, followed by a thematic tour of both African American and LGBTQ+ gravesites, culminating of course with a visit to the grave of Alain Locke himself. 

Tickets are only $5 and all proceeds benefit our non-profit mission of historical preservation and education. Space is limited so be sure to reserve your spot today! Keynote remarks will take place either outside or inside the Chapel, weather depending, and the walking tour will take place on the grounds. The tour is approximately 45 minutes in length. Please come prepared with comfortable clothing and shoes, as the tours often stray from the main paths.

The event is rain or shine. Smoking is prohibited and dogs are not allowed to attend the event unless they are a service animal.

Our Speaker:

Dr. Greg Carr

Greg Carr is an Associate Professor in the Department of Afro-American Studies and an Adjunct Instructor of Law at Howard University. He is First Vice President of the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations and Editor-in-Chief of The Compass: The Journal of ASCAC. A board member of the National Council for Black Studies and Editorial Advisor for Universal Write Publications, he has twice been named “HBCU Male Faculty Member of the Year” by HBCU Digest. Carr led the team that designed the Africana Studies curriculum framework for Philadelphia’s mandatory high school African American History course and co-founded Philadelphia Freedom Schools. His written scholarship has appeared in both academic and popular publications and he is a commentator in a wide range of print, electronic and social media. Carr's public education work includes hosting "The Black Table," a weekly talk show on The Black Star Network and appearing on the weekly digital podcast “In Class With Carr.” He tweets at @AfricanaCarr and blogs at

To learn more about the Cemetery Speaker Series, check out our main page HERE.


Mailing Address

1801 E Street, SE Historic Congressional Cemetery