Back Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on “an implicit political victory for our people”

In New York City last week, Library of America Board member Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gave a rousing account of his work as Director of The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University during which he told a capacity crowd at the Century Association, “I think that the last barrier for African-Americans to cross in terms of victory over racism will be the barrier of intellectual prejudice—the belief that somehow we are naturally inferior.”

Video: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on May 26, 2015 (5:05)

Gates’s remarks came in a conversation with businessman and investor Glenn Hutchins, who supports the Center through his Hutchins Family Foundation. The May 26 program was a co-presentation of The Library of America and The Hutchins Center.

Prompted by Hutchins, Gates looked back to the late 1960s, when elite universities in the U.S. first began to acknowledge the need for African American studies as a discipline. He explained, however, that at the time he and many of his peers “didn’t know what it meant create a real academic department,” and that a number of the initial African American studies programs “were embarrassments, really, academically. They were created so the students would not blow up the library or burn it down.”

For that reason, Gates continued, he had specific ambitions when Harvard University recruited him to rebuild what was then called the Department of Afro-American Studies in 1991.

“To me, creating an academic entity at one of the world’s greatest institutions, full of brilliant people—white and black, gay and straight, American, European, African, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, wherever they came from—built on the most sound and rigorous academic principles, would be an implicit political victory for our people.

“And that’s what I set out to do.”

Watch the complete program on The Library of America’s YouTube channel.

Library of America

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.

Benefits of Using Safe Crypto Casinos. One of the most captivating reasons people drift towards Australian casinos online-casino-au com is the promise of anonymity. Safe platforms guarantee that your identity remains a secret. Quick Payouts and Minimal Fees. No one likes waiting, especially for winnings. Safe crypto casinos ensure that payouts are swift and the fees minimal, if not non-existent.

Browse our books Subscribe

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Ozwin Casino offers an exciting array of top-notch slots that cater to every player's preferences. From classic fruit machines to cutting-edge video slots, Ozwin Casino Real Money collection has it all. With stunning graphics, immersive themes, and seamless gameplay, these slots deliver an unparalleled gaming experience. Some popular titles include Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Starburst, known for their massive jackpots and thrilling bonus features. Ozwin Casino's slots are not just about luck; they offer hours of entertainment and the chance to win big, making it a must-visit for slot enthusiasts.

Support our mission