Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. (born September 16, 1950, in Keyser, West Virginia) is an American literary critic, teacher, historian, filmmaker and public intellectual who currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He has discovered what are considered the first books by African-American writers, both of them women, and has published extensively on appreciating African-American literature as part of the Western canon.
In addition to producing and hosting previous series on the history and genealogy of prominent American figures, since 2012 Gates has been the host for three seasons of the series Finding Your Roots on PBS. It combines the work of expert researchers in genealogy, history, and genetics historic research to tell guests about their ancestors’ lives and histories.
“The first step toward tolerance is respect, and the first step toward respect is knowledge.”
“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”
“Learning to sing one’s own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own’s voices, is also the goal of any writer.”