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Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Yale University recently created a lectureship in the name of Henry Louis Gates Jr. that will provide a forum for “cutting-edge thinking” on the history and culture of people of African origin dispersed throughout the world.

Elizabeth Alexander, chair of the Department of African American Studies, describes the annual lectureship as an “extraordinary opportunity” for the department, for Yale and for the greater New Haven community.

The inaugural Henry Louis Gates Jr. lecture, “Being DuBois: Lessons in the Management of Identities,” was delivered on Oct. 16 at the Whitney Humanities Center by Kwame Anthony Appiah, the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton, and one of Gates’ life-long friends.

A prodigious writer, critic, teacher, cultural historian and host of his own PBS documentary series, Gates is the author or editor of over two dozen books. He is the recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees, as well as a MacArthur Foundation award, often referred to as the “genius grant.”

At Yale, Gates was a member of Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He graduated summa cum laude. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in English at Clare College, University of Cambridge.