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Alain Locke's Ashes to Be Buried 60 Years After His Death

Alain Locke's Ashes to Be Buried 60 Years After His Death

The ashes of late writer Alain Locke will be buried in a permanent location at Capitol Hill's Congressional Cemetery on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Published September 12, 2014

On what would have been his 129th birthday, iconic African-American writer Alain Locke's cremated remains will be buried at the Capitol Hill Congressional Cemetery, where former politicians have been laid to rest. The ceremony is funded by African-American Rhodes scholars, according to the Washington Post.

It has been 60 years since Locke passed away in New York City at the age of 68. So why are Locke's ashes just finding a resting place?

After Locke's remains were cremated, his close friend, educator and activist Arthur Huff Fauset took possession of them. When Fauset died, his niece Conchita Porter Morison contacted Howard University, where Locke was once a professor, about taking on the remains. 

Sadie Mitchell, another friend of Locke and Fauset, brought the remains to J. Weldon Norris, an English professor at Howard. Norris was visiting Philadelphia at the time and brought the remains back with him to Washington, D.C.

The remains were then placed in the university's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center until 2007. It was then transferred to the university's W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, where the director Mark Mack, had the remains placed in an urn and locked up in a safe. 

Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in philosophy and English. He was also the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. In the years following, he attended Hertford College at Oxford University and the University of Berlin. During his career, he wrote dozens of books about African-American life and culture and published literature in several journals. 

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(Photo: The Moorland-Spinrarn Research Center, Howard University)

Written by Natelege Whaley

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