Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Alphonse Fletcher University Professor
Director, Hutchins Center for African & African American Research
Hutchins Center Executive Committee
p: 617.495.8508 Fax:617.495.9590

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University.

Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder,...

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Harvard Gazette: 'Recovering the life stories of the Zealy daguerreotype subjects'

Harvard Gazette: 'Recovering the life stories of the Zealy daguerreotype subjects'

April 12, 2021
The disturbing nature of the Zealy daguerreotypes, depicting enslaved Africans in 19th-century America, stems in part from the treatment of their subjects. In these images, commissioned by Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz and currently housed at the Peabody Museum, the slaves are robbed of their life stories as well as their basic humanity.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Harvard Gazette: 'Gates recognized for his scholarship in the humanities'

January 27, 2021
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has named Henry Louis Gates Jr. the recipient of the Don M. Randel Award for Humanistic Studies. The award — which is being given for only the seventh time since it was established in 1975 — recognizes remarkable scholars whose work shapes our inner lives and our understanding of the world around us.
Washington Post: 'A massive new effort to name millions sold into bondage during the transatlantic slave trade'

Washington Post: 'A massive new effort to name millions sold into bondage during the transatlantic slave trade'

December 1, 2020
Daryle Williams was emotionally torn, pushing the decision right up against deadline. As a history professor at the University of Maryland, Williams had been researching the slave trade in 19th-century Brazil when he came upon two newspaper ads featuring runaway Africans. One mentioned a mother, Sancha, escaping with her two sons — Luis, 9, and Tiburcio, 4 — in 1855. The other referenced a young woman, Theresa, who fled with her nursing daughter, in 1842.
The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Claude Steele, Lawrence D. Bobo, Michael Dawson, Gerald Jaynes, Lisa Crooms-Robinson, and Linda Darling-Hammond, ed. 2012. The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present. Oxford University Press. Abstract

When newly-liberated African American slaves attempted to enter the marketplace and exercise their rights as citizens of the United States in 1865, few, if any, Americans expected that, a century and a half later, the class divide between black and white Americans would be as wide as it is today. The United States has faced several potential key turning points in the status of African Americans over the course of its history, yet at each of these points the prevailing understanding of African Americans and their place in the economic and political fabric of the country was at best contested and resolved on the side of second-class citizenship.

The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present seeks to answer the question of what the United States would look like today if, at the end of the Civil War, freed slaves had been granted full political, social and economic rights. It does so by tracing the historical evolution of African American experiences, from the dawn of Reconstruction onward, through the perspectives of sociology, political science, law, economics, education and psychology. As a whole, the book is the first systematic study of the gap between promise and performance of African Americans since 1865. Over the course of thirty-four chapters, written by some of the most eminent scholars of African American studies and across every major social discipline, this handbook presents a full and powerful portrait of the particular hurdles faced by African Americans and the distinctive contributions African Americans have made to the development of U.S. institutions and culture. As such, it tracks where African Americans have been in order to better illuminate the path ahead.

The Classic Slave Narratives
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., ed. 2012. The Classic Slave Narratives. Reissue Edition, Signet Classics. Abstract

Before the end of the Civil War, more than one hundred former slaves had published moving stories of their captivity and escape, joined by a similar number after the war. No group of slaves anywhere, in any other era, has left such prolific testimony to the horror of bondage and servitude.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of America's top experts in African American studies, presents four of these classic narratives that illustrate the real nature of black experience in slavery.

Fascinating and powerful, this collection includes four of the best-known examples: the lives of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs (alias Linda Brent), Mary Price, and Olaudah Equiano (alias Gustavus Vassa). These amazing stories are not only first-person histories of the highest caliber, they are also a unique literary form that has given birth to the spirit, vitality, and vision of America's modern black writers.

Updated with the ninth edition of The Life of Olaudah Equiano, the last edition he revised and published in his lifetime.

Twelve Years a Slave
Northup, Solomon. 2012. Twelve Years a Slave. Edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.. Introduction by Ira Berlin. Penguin Classics.
Dictionary of African Biography
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Emmanuel K. Akyeampong. 2012. Dictionary of African Biography. Oxford University Press. Abstract

In the spirit of The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, American National Biography, and African American National Biography--all three published by Oxford University Press--Dictionary of African Biography is a major biographical dictionary covering the lives and legacies of notable African men and women from all eras and walks of life. This groundbreaking resource tells the full story of the African continent through the lives of its people.

The rich history of the African people has been unduly neglected in the scholarly literature, and reliable reference material is in short supply. This trend has begun to change, however, and in recent years many new historical discoveries have been made. Much of this research is designed as a corrective to the long tradition of inadequate treatment by scholars. Although scholarship on Africa is flourishing, very little of this research has yet filtered down into accessible reference works; well designed reference material is essential to promote further scholarly inquiry, learning, and education, and to satisfy increasing interest among nonspecialist audiences.

Although there have been some isolated instances of successful biography of Africans, there is no single resource that provides comprehensive coverage. Older reference works focus unevenly on the colonial period, European adventurers, and Egyptian dynasties. There is very little attention given to the full range of African lives, and rarely is the continent treated as a whole. As a result our picture of Africa's history and its people is incomplete. A comprehensive biographical dictionary will greatly increase our understanding of the African continent and have a transformative effect on education and research.

As the most wide-reaching reference project on Africa to date, DAB will be a means of codifying the explosion of new research. Entries will be written by contributing scholars from African studies departments the world over. Each entry has been reviewed by the editorial board to ensure only reliable, high-quality material is published.

DAB contains nearly 2 million words in nearly 2,100 entries, each with bibliography, ranging from 750 to 2,000 words. It will have a comprehensive index. It comprises six volumes and is published in a hardcover edition for specialists and libraries.

African American National Biography
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, ed. 2013. African American National Biography. Oxford University Press. Abstract
The African American National Biography presents history through a mosaic of the lives of thousands of individuals, illuminating the abiding influence of persons of African descent on the life of this nation from the arrival of Esteban in Spanish Florida in 1529 through to notable black citizens of the present day.

The original eight-volume set has now been expanded to twelve handsome volumes in its second edition, bringing the total number of lives profiled to nearly 5,000. The AANB continues to grow along with the field of African American biographical research, providing for continuous updates to the online edition, each entry written and signed by distinguished scholars. This is a remarkable achievement, a tenfold increase over the number of biographies contained in 2004's award-winning and substantial African American Lives, and featuring such notable new entries as Cory Booker, C. Vivian Stringer, and Michelle Obama.

In addition to Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., the AANB includes a wide range of African Americans from all time periods and all walks of life. Lives profiled include those already recognized as giants of black history, figures whose stories have never been told and that readers will be discovering for the first time, and living people who are shaping the era in which we now live. The names within are both famous and nearly-forgotten. In the words of AANB editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., "These stories, long buried in the dusty archives of history, will never be lost again. And that is what scholarship in the field of African American Studies should be all about."
The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader
Wells, Ida B. 2014. The Light of Truth: Writings of an Anti-Lynching Crusader. Edited by Mia Bay and Henry Louis Gates Jr.. Penguin Classics. Abstract

Seventy-one years before Rosa Parks’s courageous act of resistance, police dragged a young black journalist named Ida B. Wells off a train for refusing to give up her seat. The experience shaped Wells’s career, and—when hate crimes touched her life personally—she mounted what was to become her life’s work: an anti-lynching crusade that captured international attention.

This volume covers the entire scope of Wells’s remarkable career, collecting her early writings, articles exposing the horrors of lynching, essays from her travels abroad, and her later journalism. The Light of Truth is both an invaluable resource for study and a testament to Wells’s long career as a civil rights activist.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The 20th Century Part 1: The Impact of Africa
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and David Bindman, ed. 2014. The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The 20th Century Part 1: The Impact of Africa. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Abstract
In the 1960s, art patrons Dominique and Jean de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art from the ancient world to modern times. Highlights from the image archive, accompanied by essays written by major scholars, appeared in three large-format volumes, consisting of one or more books, that quickly became collector's items. A half-century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to have republished five of the original books and to present five completely new ones, extending the series into the twentieth century.

The Impact of Africa, the first of two books on the twentieth century, looks at changes in the Western perspective on African art and the representation of Africans, and the paradox of their interpretation as simultaneously "primitive" and "modern." The essays include topics such as the new medium of photography, African influences on Picasso and on Josephine Baker's impression of 1920s Paris, and the influential contribution of artists from the Caribbean and Latin American diasporas.
The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The 20th Century Part 2: The Rise of Black Artists
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and David Bindman, ed. 2014. The Image of the Black in Western Art, Volume V: The 20th Century Part 2: The Rise of Black Artists. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Abstract
In the 1960s, art patrons Dominique and Jean de Menil founded an image archive showing the ways that people of African descent have been represented in Western art from the ancient world to modern times. Highlights from the image archive, accompanied by essays written by major scholars, appeared in three large‐format volumes, consisting of one or more books, that quickly became collector’s items. A half‐century later, Harvard University Press and the Du Bois Institute are proud to have republished five of the original books and five completely new ones, extending the series into the twentieth century.

The Rise of Black Artists, the second of two books on the twentieth century and the final volume in The Image of the Black in Western Art, marks an essential shift in the series and focuses on representation of blacks by black artists in the West. This volume takes on important topics ranging from urban migration within the United States to globalization, to Négritude and cultural hybridity, to the modern black artist’s relationship with European aesthetic traditions and experimentation with new technologies and media. Concentrating on the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean, essays in this volume shed light on topics such as photography, jazz, the importance of political activism to the shaping of black identities, as well as the post-black art world.

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