Tag: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Activist and Educator Angela Davis’ Papers Acquired by Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library (VIDEO)

Detail photos show materials from the papers of Angela Davis that are now housed at the Schlesinger Library. (Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer)

by Colleen Walsh via news.harvard.edu

For almost 60 years Angela Davis has been for many an iconic face of feminism and counterculture activism in America. Now her life in letters and images will be housed at Harvard University.

Radcliffe College‘s Schlesinger Library has acquired Davis’ archive, a trove of documents, letters, papers, photos, and more that trace her evolution as an activist, author, educator, and scholar. The papers were secured with support from Harvard’s Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

The FBI wanted poster for Davis (Courtesy Schlesinger Library)

“My papers reflect 50 years of involvement in activist and scholarly collaborations seeking to expand the reach of justice in the world,” Davis said in a statement. “I am very happy that at the Schlesinger Library they will join those of June Jordan, Patricia Williams, Pat Parker, and so many other women who have been advocates of social transformation.”

Jane Kamensky, Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation Director of the Schlesinger Library, sees the collection yielding “prize-winning books for decades as people reckon with this legacy and put [Davis] in conversation with other collections here and elsewhere.”

When looking for new material, Kamensky said the library seeks collections “that will change the way that fields know what they know,” adding that she expects the Davis archive to inspire and inform scholars across a range of disciplines.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. said that he’s followed Davis’ life and work ever since spotting a “Free Angela” poster on the wall at his Yale dorm. Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor, has worked to increase the archival presence of African-Americans who have made major contributions to U.S. society, politics, and culture. He called the Davis papers “a marvelous coup for Harvard.”

“She’s of enormous importance to the history of political thought and political activism of left-wing or progressive politics and the history of race and gender in the United States since the mid-’60s,” said Gates, who directs the Hutchins Center. “No one has a more important role, and now scholars will be able to study the arc of her thinking, the way it evolved and its depth, by having access to her papers.”

The acquisition is in keeping with the library’s efforts to ensure its collections represent a broad range of life experiences. In 2013 and 2014 an internal committee developed a diverse wish list, “and a foundational thinker and activist like Angela Davis was very naturally at the top,” said Kamensky.

Kenvi Phillips, hired as the library’s first curator for race and ethnicity in 2016, met with Davis in Oakland last year to collect the papers with help from two archivists. Together they packed 151 boxes of material gathered from a storage site, an office, and Davis’ home. Continue reading “Activist and Educator Angela Davis’ Papers Acquired by Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library (VIDEO)”

Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. Awarded the 2018 Creativity Laureate Prize

Henry Louis Gates Jr.

via jbhe.com

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, received the 2018 Creativity Laureate Award from the Benjamin Franklin Creativity Collaboration at a recent ceremony at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

The prize honors the most gifted and creative thinkers, innovators and professional catalysts in all areas of human endeavor — the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and public service. Previous winners have included Sandra Day O’Connor, Meryl Streep, Yo-Yo Ma, Ted Turner, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Johnnetta Cole.

Professor Gates was chosen for the award for his important work in the areas of arts and criticism, humanities and historical research, genetic science, documentary film, and public service. He has authored or co-authored 22 books and created 18 documentary films. His six-part documentary – The African American: Many Rivers to Cross – aired on PBS television and won an Emmy Award for outstanding historical program. According to the Collaboration, Professor Gates “exemplifies the spirit that inspired the Creativity Laureate Award – the multi-disciplinary creativity of Benjamin Franklin.”

Professor Gates joined the faculty at Harvard University in 1991 after teaching at Duke University, Cornell University, and Yale University. A native of West Virginia, Dr. Gates is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/04/henry-louis-gates-jr-awarded-the-2018-creativity-laureate-prize/

PBS and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Team Up for 6-Hour Documentary Series “Africa’s Great Civilizations”

PBS
(Image via ShadowAndAct.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

According to ShadowAndAct.com, during the Television Critics Association (TCA) winter tour, PBS unveiled that it has teamed up with African-American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. for a 3-part/6-hour documentary series titled “Africa’s Great Civilizations” which premieres on February 27, promising to bring “little-known yet epic stories to life, detailing African kingdoms and cultures.”

The official summary is as follows: “Henry Louis Gates, Jr. provides a new look from an African perspective at African history, traversing the dawn of mankind to the dawn of the 20th century. The series is a breathtaking and personal journey through history that includes evidence of the earliest human culture and art, arguably the world’s greatest ever civilizations and kingdoms, and some of the world’s earliest writing. Gates travels throughout the vast continent of Africa to discover the true majesty of its greatest civilizations and kingdoms.”

The series will air over 3 nights, Monday-Wednesday, February 27-March 1, from 9-11 p.m. ET each airing.  To see the trailer, click below:

 

“Birth of a Movement”, PBS Documentary on William Monroe Trotter and his Protest of Original “The Birth of a Nation”, Premieres Feb. 6

birth-movement-boston-premeire-50
(Image via boston.eventful.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Birth of a Movement, a documentary about African-American newspaper editor William Monroe Trotter‘s 1915 battle against America’s first blockbuster movie – D.W. Griffith‘s infamous The Birth of a Nation – will have its broadcast premiere Feb 6, 2017 on Independent Lens/PBS.

The documentary film was produced and directed by Bestor Cram and Susan Gray at NLP in Boston, is executive produced by Sam Pollard and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (who is also interviewed in the film), is narrated by Danny Glover, and written by filmmaker Kwyn Bader and Edgar Award Winner and Pulitzer nominee Dick Lehr. Spike Lee and Reginald Hudlin appear in the film, as does Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, who provided the score. There are also premiere screenings – open to the public – in Boston and NYC on Jan 30 and 31st, respectively.

For Boston ticket info, click here: http://boston.eventful.com/events/birth-movement-boston-premeire-/E0-001-098857426-8

For New York City ticket info, click herehttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/films-at-the-schomburg-birth-of-a-movement-the-battle-against-americas-first-blockbuster-tickets-30972781423

Danielle Allen Named University Professor at Harvard – Its Highest Faculty Member Honor

Harvard University Professor Danielle Allen (photo via harvardgazette.com)
Harvard University Professor Danielle Allen (photo via harvardgazette.com)

article via jbhe.com

Danielle Allen was appointed the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, effective January 1. This is the highest honor bestowed on a faculty member at Harvard. Currently there are 24 University Professors at Harvard, including Henry Louis Gates Jr. and William Julius Wilson.

In announcing the appointment, Harvard President Drew Faust stated that “Danielle Allen is one of the most distinguished and creative scholars of her generation. Her interests bridge an extraordinary range of fields, her ideas illuminate new avenues of scholarship and education, and her influence extends across the academy and well beyond.”

Dr. Allen joined the faculty at Harvard in 2015. She is a professor of government, professor of education, and the director of the Edmond L. Safra Center for Ethics at the university. Before joining the faculty at Harvard, Dr. Allen was the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Earlier, she served on the faculty at the University of Chicago for more than a decade.

Professor Allen is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University where she majored in the classics. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in the classics from Cambridge University. In addition, she has a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Dr. Allen is the author of five books including The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (Princeton University Press, 2000) and Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Liveright, 2014).

“Creed” Director Ryan Coogler to Deliver Prestigious University of Chicago Kent Lecture Feb. 9

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler (photo via blogs.indiewire.com)

The annual Kent Lecture was established by the Organization of Black Students at the University of Chicago in 1984, and was named after the late Dr. George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African-American professors at the University of Chicago, and its first African-American professor of English.

The prestigious honor was “designed to serve as a platform for community exposure to African-American luminaries” and since its inception, speakers who have given the lecture are names you would expect, such as Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Michelle Alexander.

This year, the OBS pulled off a real coup and got, for the first time, a film director. Not only just a film director, but the director of “Fruitvale Station” and “Creed,” Ryan Coogler himself, to give this year’s Kent Lecture.

According to OBS, Coogler will be discussing “blackness in mixed forms of media, specifically film, the importance of representation, and why stories such as these are so important to tell.” After his opening remarks, there will be a moderated Q&A with Coogler (no doubt there are going to be a lot of audience questions about the Oscars and “Black Panther”).

The event will take place at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago campus (1175 E. 57th); starting at 7PM and yes it’s free and open to the public. But get there early to secure a seat because they will likely be going fast.

article by Sergio via blogs.indiewire.com

Harvard University Acquires Copy of Unfinished Play “The Welcome Table” by James Baldwin

The Houghton Library at Harvard University has acquired a typed script of an unfinished James Baldwin play “The Welcome Table.” The manuscript is the 3,000 item acquired by the library archives since 1874.

James Baldwin
James Baldwin

One of the main characters in the Baldwin play, Peter Davis, is based on Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. Another character is based on Josephine Baker. In 1973, Professor Gates, who was working as a London-based journalist at the time, drove Josephine Baker to Baldwin’s villa in France, where the three dined together.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.

There are four known versions of the script that were written over the years. In one version, Professor Gates is a young man but in a later version he is a middle-aged man. Gates owns one of the other copies of the unfinished play. Another is held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library. The fourth is owned by a private collector.

article via jbhe.com

Diploma of First African-American Harvard Graduate Richard T. Greener up for Auction this Week

Image courtesy of Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

This week, a Bachelor of Arts diploma that belonged to Richard T. Greener, the first African-American to graduate from Harvard, will hit the auction block in Chicago, when it’s sold by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers to the tune of $15,000.

Richard T. Greener
First African-American Harvard Graduate Richard T. Greener

“Greener was a pioneer of social and racial equality in the racially divided South. His Harvard diploma, a document of incalculable historical significance, has never before been offered at public auction,” according to representatives from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, who will put the diploma out to bid on Wednesday.

The document, dated July 1870, along with piles of other personal papers and artwork that belonged to Greener, were previously thought to have been lost during a San Francisco earthquake in 1906. In 2009, however, Rufus McDonald, a 52-year-old contractor, stumbled upon a treasure trove of Greener’s belongings while cleaning out an old house in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.

After he found what Harvard University officials have called priceless artifacts, McDonald started selling his discovery to those who he thought could benefit from having them as part of their own collections.

McDonald sold some of the documents for around $52,000 to the University of South Carolina, where Greener taught. “It was like the Holy Grail. It’s such an important symbol of that time period,” Elizabeth West, university archivist at USC, told Boston last year.

When he approached Harvard with a collection that included the diploma, McDonald said he was offered a lowball amount based on appraisals he had done, and instead threatened to torch the document if the school didn’t meet his demands.

“I’ll roast and burn them,” he said in October of last year, when trying to negotiate with the Cambridge university. “It might sound crazy, but people who know me know I’d really do it—I’m sick and tired of Harvard’s BS.”

While the actual amount that Harvard offered McDonald was never revealed, Henry Gates, Jr., who leads Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Institute for African-American Research, told Boston that he wanted the documents to end up back at the school.

“I very much hope that Harvard acquires these documents at a fairly appraised value. Mr. McDonald’s discovery was extraordinary,” he said at the time McDonald threatened to burn them.

The price tag set on the diploma alone—valued between $10,000 and $15,000— is lower than McDonald’s original demands from the school for a pile of items owned by Greener. In October of 2013, McDonald was calling on the school to fork over around $65,000 for the Harvard degree and several other documents, after he had them appraised.

Because it’s being sold through an auction house, McDonald doesn’t stand to pocket the full amount of the sale, either. According to a spokesperson from Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, the company will take a cut of the profit once the sale is complete. “If it sells, [Mr. McDonald] gets a portion of that sale. If it doesn’t sell, he can take the document back with him,” the spokesperson said over the phone on Tuesday.

article by Steve Annear via bostonmagazine.com

Nas Gives a Benediction for Harvard’s Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship

Nas performing in New York in June.
Nas performing in New York in June (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)

The rapper Nas made his first appearance at Harvard University on Thursday, not to perform but to give his blessing to a new fellowship in his name – formally, the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship.  The fellowship will be awarded to two scholars or artists annually, chosen by a Harvard faculty committee. It is primarily a research fellowship, although Marcyliena Morgan, a professor of African and African American Studies and the founder and director of the Hip-Hop Archive and Research Institute, which will administer the fellowship, said on Friday that fellows could teach courses as well. The application process, she said, has just started.

“The main purpose of the fellowship,” Ms. Morgan said, “is to support people doing work that has to do with the ways hip-hop itself reaches out to youth through the world, and particularly how it brings together issues of social justice, art and politics. That relationship – and how difficult it can be – is an important aspect of what we’re looking at. Hip-hop has been a way of getting the word out in very difficult situations.”

Continue reading “Nas Gives a Benediction for Harvard’s Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship”

PBS Documentary “The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross” Airing Every Tuesday Through Nov. 26

 

It always seemed pretty straightforward. And horrifying. Early African-American history was the story of thousands of Africans who were captured, shipped like cargo to the New World and sold into slavery, mostly to work and die on Southern plantations.  But Henry Louis Gates Jr. and PBS show us that history’s complexity in a beautifully done six-part, six-hour documentary, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Crosswhich began on Tuesday night and continues weekly through Nov. 26.

Mr. Gates — the Harvard professor, author and critic — is highly visible, interviewing historians, talking to older black Africans who acknowledge that their ancestors became wealthy through the slave trade, chatting with contemporary black Americans over Hoppin’ John and iced tea, standing at seemingly innocuous city intersections where shameful history unfolded.

Everyone (you hope) knows that slavery existed at least as long ago as Ancient Egypt. Many are also aware that black Africans helped the white slave traders who arrived on their shores. But Episode 1 (“The Black Atlantic: 1500-1800”) delves deeper — in Sierra Leone, the Temne people would sell the Loko people, so they didn’t see it as turning against their own — and points out that Europeans invented the idea that skin color determined who was and was not enslavable. As Mr. Gates observes, “the dehumanization of an entire race” takes a while.

Continue reading “PBS Documentary “The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross” Airing Every Tuesday Through Nov. 26″