Look for these two features after the residency:
Links to outside sources
IN THE WORDS OF OTHERS | IN HIS OWN WORDS
In The Words of Others
- "In 2006, Professor Gates wrote and produced the PBS documentary
also called "African American Lives," the first documentary series to
employ genealogy and science to provide an understanding of African
"An influential cultural critic, Professor Gates's publications include a 1994 cover story for Time magazine, numerous articles for the New Yorker, and in September 2004, a biweekly guest column in The New York Times."
brief overview of Gates' many accomplishments and contributions at his
faculty page at Harvard's Program in the History of American
- " 'Long after white American literature has been anthologized and canonized, and recanonized,' [Gates] stated in the New York Times Book Review,
'our efforts to define a black American canon are often decried as
racist, separatist, nationalist, or "essentialist."' Gates further
insists that the reason black works are not included is because the
traditional canon is based on Western or European culture."
A look at Gates' critical history and his pioneering efforts to get black literature recognized from Thompson Gale.
- "He tackles issues from arts and AIDS to religion and
censorship. Most recently he assessed the changing political structure
of loyalty and mores in the United States since the Cold War era. A
keen observer of current events, he never neglects the importance of
values and traditions in the cultural environment. Gates argues that it
is critical to apply scholarly standards and principles in addressing
these issues. He promotes the proliferation of rigorous methodologies
and encourages inquiries into the African and African American impact
in multicultural and multiethnic settings."
A short biography including links to excerpts and interviews from Stanford Presidential Lectures in the Humanities and Arts.
- "Americans must 'learn to live without the age-old deleterious
dream of purity, whether purity of blood lines or purity of cultural
inheritance.' Learning to find comfort, solace and fulfillment in 'the
rough magic of the cultural mix' may be an imperfect solution, he said,
like democracy, but the best available alternative."
An interesting report on a lecture given by Gates in the Humanities Center Annex of Stanford in 1998.
In His Own Words
- "I mean, she wanted us to be as successful as it was humanly
possible to be in American society. But she always wanted us to
remember, first and last, that we were black and that you could never
trust white people. And so when I brought my fiancee home, who happened
to be a white American, I thought World War III was about to break out
between me and my mother, not to mention between my mother and my
"The tradition of literature in the English language is sublime.
There's no question about that. I would never want to get rid of
Shakespeare or Milton or Virginia Woolf or any of these people, but I
want to make room for other great writers -- writers like Wole Soyinka
or Derek Walcott or Toni Morrison or Marquez...."
An interview in which Gates recollects various stories from his life while discussing Colored People, featured on Booknotes.
- "Have you ever gone to a movie with black people? They talk to
the screen. That's what we tried to do, set up a call and response
between the annotations and the text that's like the way black people
go to the movies. Look, from Frederick Douglass, who reviewed and
praised it, to James Baldwin in 1949, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" has had more
impact than any other single book on the shaping of African-American
literature. Now it's unread by black people. I'm trying to get a new
generation of black people to read it, and it's an uphill battle."
Gates talks about The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin with The Boston Globe (two pages).
- "Look at these black college students today. They're worried
about somebody black jumping in their face and saying, 'You're not
black enough. You're a Harvard kid, a turncoat, a traitor, you speak
standard English, you get straight A's--those are all white things.'
And they had to put up with that all their lives, probably. I give a
speech to the black freshmen at Harvard each year, and I say, 'You can
like Mozart and ice hockey . . .'--and then I used to say 'golf,' but
Tiger took over golf!--'and Picasso and still be as black as the ace of
spades. You know, there are 35 million black people in this country and
there are 35 million ways to be black.' When I say that, I get a
A discussion about the current state of the black community and what needs to change from MotherJones.
The 2007 Appalachian Heritage Writer-in-Residence Program is made possible with financial support from the West Virginia Humanities Council, the West Virginia Center for the Book, and the Shepherd University Foundation.