Finding Your Roots
Based on his groundbreaking PBS series of the same name, HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. shares insights from his influential series about genealogy, genetics, and history’s impact on our lives today. This keynote features a stunning visual presentation, including Professor Gates’ favorite moments from the show, such as the memorable appears of the late Congressman John Lewis.
DEI from Reconstruction to Today
Cultural critic and esteemed literary scholar HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. traces the influences of the history of Reconstruction on today’s vital issues, showing how that vital period of history is a mirror for what is happening in politics and society today. Professor Gates illuminates the historical impact in our current conversations about voter suppression, the rise of racist rhetoric, and increasing bipartisanship, and offers insights about the ongoing challenges as well as opportunities facing us today.
Event Success Story: Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. ignites the Homestead Community Land Trust audience, and “community members are still talking about his appearance”
Emmy and Peabody award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, and acclaimed thinker Dr. HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. joined the Homestead Community Land Trust for their annual benefit event in Seattle. Drawing on the work of his celebrated PBS series Finding Your Roots, Professor Gates inspired Homestead’s audience with a history-focused program urging lawmakers to consider the past while driving towards a better future.
With his background as an esteemed professor and researcher, Professor Gates gave an honest but uplifting reflection on how voter suppression, the rise of racist rhetoric, and increasing bipartisanship have contributed to the factors governing today’s housing market. While he incorporated hard truths, Professor Gates carried an accessible and ultimately uplifting tone, keeping the audience engaged through his insightful reflections.
The Homestead Community Land Trust gave him a glowing review: “Our event with Dr. Gates was everything we hoped for and more. In exploring the rise and fall of reconstruction, he drew people into deeper awareness of the historical seeds of present-day inequities that make our work necessary and vital. Community members are still talking about his appearance; it will not soon be forgotten, and it will have lasting impact for good here in Seattle.”
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates’s most recent books are Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow and The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song. He has also produced and hosted an array of documentary films. The Black Church (PBS) and Frederick Douglass: In Five Speeches (HBO), which he executive produced, each received Emmy nominations. His latest history series for PBS is Making Black America: Through the Grapevine. Finding Your Roots, Gates’s groundbreaking genealogy and genetics series, has completed its ninth season on PBS and will return for a tenth season in 2024.