A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Locke received the BA in History and Political Science from Tougaloo College and the masters and Ph.D. in Political Science from Atlanta University (Clark Atlanta). Prior to higher education, Dr. Locke worked as an archivist with the Mississippi State Department of Archives and History and the Atlanta History Center. She has a certificate in archives administration from Emory University/Georgia Department of Archives and History; certificate in management development from Harvard University; and was a Fulbright-Hays Scholar at the American University in Cairo. Dr. Locke’s areas of expertise are race and gender politics, public policy, urban politics, state and local government and American government. She is the author of several articles, book chapters, book reviews, and co-author of two edited books. Her most recent publication, “Whose Lives Really Matter: The Invisibility of African American Women in Political Discourse of the Black Lives Matter Campaign,” appears in the Spring 2016 volume of the Virginia Social Science Journal. Dr. Locke has also authored several op-eds in local newspapers, the most recent in the Newport News Daily Press entitled “Equality of Rights is a Necessary Constitutional Addition.”
Dr. Locke serves on several boards and commissions including Transitions Family Violence Service, the Virginia Housing Commission, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Commission, the Fort Monroe Authority, and the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization. She is a life member of the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and a member of the Hampton Chapter of The Links, Incorporated. She is the recipient of several awards and honors, including the Library of Virginia and Dominion Resources Strong Men and Strong Women of Virginia, Diane Blair Award for Outstanding Achievement in Politics and Government from the Southern Political Science Association, and the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, Hampton University. Dr. Locke is a former member of the Hampton City Council and the first African American and popularly elected woman mayor of the City of Hampton. She currently serves in the Senate of Virginia where she is a member of the Education and Health, General Laws and Technology, Rehabilitation and Technology, and Rules Committees. She also serves as Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus and past chair of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus.