Gates recognized for his scholarship in the humanities
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has named Henry Louis Gates Jr. the recipient of the Don M. Randel Award for Humanistic Studies. The award recognizes remarkable scholars whose work shapes our inner lives and our understanding of the world around us. A prolific scholar and public intellectual, Gates’s work exploring and illuminating African American history and culture is incomparable. He is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Gates has authored or co-authored 25 books, including “The Signifying Monkey,” a seminal text on African American oral and literary tradition, which won the American Book Award in 1988, and “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow,” a New York Times Notable Book of 2019.
Gates has also created more than 20 documentary films and television programs, including “Finding Your Roots,” a series that uses genealogy and genetics to explore the ancestral histories of the program’s guests, and the Emmy Award-winning “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which traces the African American experience from the transatlantic slave trade to the presidency of Barack Obama. Two new documentaries will air in February: “Black Art: In the Absence of Light,” for which Gates served as an executive producer for HBO, and a four-hour PBS series, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song,” which will also have a companion book issued next month.