By Leonard Harris
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There were also classes in Logic and in German, with other teachers. But the daily themes were often done for Locke’s class in English Literature, presumably the subject he was considering teaching at the high school level, as he prepared himself along with his classmates for the public school system’s growing need for instructors. Consequently many of the themes read like a quite advanced course in literary 24 Chapter One criticism or esthetics. He writes about George Saintsbury’s two-volume History of Criticism, suggesting that the English critic will become known as a new Sainte-Beuve.
He was able to keep his grades up by relying on the study habits and frequent writing he had practiced at Pedagogy. At the same time he developed a sophisticated social life. The course of undergraduate study at Harvard at the turn of the century was extremely rigorous compared to previous and later periods. This was combined, however, with a recent reform of the curriculum, initiated by Harvard 31 President Charles Eliot, that did away with required courses and substituted a system of electives.
Dickerman did volunteer work there, teaching a group of young Jewish boys, and Locke also considered joining in the effort. His impulse to follow his parents into a vocation as a teacher was obviously not based merely on economic need, but on this occasion he decided to husband his time. Another way the race issue was focused for Locke arose with the ongoing interest he shared with many in the fortunes of Booker T. Washington. Before coming to Harvard he had met the most famous leader of the race in 1903, at an annual meeting of the Unitarian Book Room Association in Philadelphia, and it was clear that Locke and his mother looked up to him.
Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris