Renowned scholar Henry Louis Gates to speak at Smith College

  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Angela Bassett on "Finding Your Roots II." (Chris Frawley/MCT)Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Angela Bassett on Finding Your Roots II. Chris Frawley/MCT Handout

  • HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. HENRY LOUIS GATES JR.

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Published: 3/21/2017 8:12:41 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Henry Louis Gates Jr., an award-winning scholar and cultural critic, will speak in Northampton on the last half-century of civil rights movements in the U.S.

The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Monday in the Weinstein Auditorium on College Lane at Smith College. It will begin with screenings of excerpts from his new documentary film, “Black America Since MLK.” Following the screening, Gates will talk with Smith College President Kathleen McCartney about the film and broader issues of civil rights.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. He has co-authored 21 books and created 15 documentary films.

Gates created the six-part PBS documentary series “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which earned an Emmy Award, the Peabody Award and the NAACP Image Award, among others.

In 2009, Gates was arrested in front of his home after a neighbor called Cambridge Police about two black men appearing to “force entry” as he and his driver attempted to push through the jammed front door of his own home. His arrest sparked controversy and garnered attention from former President Barack Obama.

After writing for publications like The New York Times, Time and The New Yorker — including a controversial New York Times op-ed, “How to End the Slavery Blame-Game” — Gates now serves as the chairman of the daily online magazine TheRoot.com, which provides commentary on current news from African-American perspectives.

Gates studied English language and literature at Yale University and the University of Cambridge. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes and honorary degrees, including becoming the first African-American scholar to receive a National Humanities Medal.

The event is free and open to the public. If the auditorium fills up, the talk will be streamed in the Carroll Room at the Campus Center.




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