Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

University Lecture Celebrates 50 Years of Diversity

East Carolina University soon will welcome to campus Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, who will deliver a public lecture.

During the University Lecture Celebrating 50 Years of Diversity at ECU, Gates will discuss “African-American Lives: Genetics, Genealogy, and Black History,” at 7 p.m. Nov. 10, in ECU’s Wright Auditorium. The lecture is jointly sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Science Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series; Office of Equity, Diversity, and Community Relations; Office of Student Affairs; Student Activities Board-Initiatives; Division of Research and Graduate Studies; and J.Y. Joyner Library.

Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and his B.A., summa cum laude,in history from Yale University. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, Gates taught at Yale, Cornell and Duke, and he has received 44 honorary degrees from institutions in the United States and abroad.

Among his litany of honors and awards, Gates has received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and the George Polk Award for Social Commentary. He has been listed as one of Time magazine's “25 Most Influential Americans,” has received a National Humanities Medal, and has received the Jay B. Hubbell Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association. In 2006, Gates was inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution after he traced his lineage back to John Redman, a free Negro who fought in the Revolutionary War.

He is the author of several works of literary criticism, including “Figures in Black: Words, Signs and the ‘Racial’ Self” and “The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism,” winner of the 1989 American Book Award. In 1983, Gates facilitated the publication of “Our Nig,” or “Sketches from the Life of a Free Black” by Harriet Wilson, the first novel published by an African American woman. In 2002, he published “The Bondwoman's Narrative” by Hannah Crafts, dating from the early 1850s and now considered one of the first novels written by an African American woman. Gates is also the co-author, with Cornel West, of “The Future of the Race,” and the author of a memoir, “Colored People,” that traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and ‘60s.

One complimentary ticket for Gates’ University Lecture is available to ECU students, faculty and staff members with a valid ECU ID. Tickets are $10 for the general public. For tickets, call the ECU Central Ticket Office at 252-328-4788 or 1-800-ECU-ARTS. Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series advances the spirit of exploration and discovery that is the hallmark of the liberal arts. Since its inception, it has featured speakers of international renown addressing compelling issues facing humanity.

The final two lectures in the Voyages Series on Feb. 2 and March 13, 2012, will address topics on the cultural and ecological treasures of eastern North Carolina, and contemporary Black theology.

The lecture series is made possible through contributions from Harriot College’s Dean’s Advancement Council, various university organizations, and many friends and supporters. To make a contribution, or for additional information, contact director of the lecture series Dr. John A. Tucker at 252-328-1028 or tuckerjo@ecu.edu, or visit the series’ Web site at www.ecu.edu/voyages.