The story of the African-American people is the story of the settlement and growth of America itself, a universal tale that all people should experience.

— Henry Louis Gates

The most superior Henry Louis Gates quotes that are guaranted to improve your brain

The first step toward tolerance is respect and the first step toward respect is knowledge.

20

Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.

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You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.

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Well, certainly one of the ironies of the success of affirmative action is that the middle class within the black community no longer lives within 'black community' by and large.

12

There haven't been fundamental structural changes in America.

There's been a very important symbolic change and that is the election of Barack Obama. But the only black people who truly live in a post-racial world in America all live in a very nice house on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

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We have to stop making excuses. One of the things that I'm careful to show is the horrendous effects of institutional and structural racism, but in the end, you can't wait for white man or a Black man to come riding in on a white horse to save you. We have to save ourselves, and that's the lesson of "The African Americans."

9

If you don't tell your stories, other people will tell their story about you.

It's important that we nurture and protect these memories. Things change. Existence means change.

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I thought, "why don't we be innovative and create something nobody had ever done before?" It was a huge hit and we immediately did a sequel with Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Tina Turner and Maya Angelou.

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The precise form of an individual's activity is determined, of course, by the equipment with which he came into the world. In other words, it is determined by his heredity.

6

The biggest surprise for me, without a doubt, was that the first black people who came to the United States weren't the 20 who arrived in Jamestown in 1619. All of us had been taught that. The first African came to Florida in 1513. And the huge shock is we know his name, Juan Garrido, and that he wasn't a slave. He was free!

4

The more you learn about yourself and your family tree, your self-esteem goes up. They will learn archival skills, historical analysis and science skills. You learn all this in the most seductive way, and that is through learning about yourself. Who doesn't like talking about themselves? It doesn't seem like science or history, it's just fun.

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So, the kind of precious memories about being black for my generation won't exist for my kids' and grandkids' generations unless we preserve them through fiction, through film, through comic books, and every other form of media we can possibly utilize to perpetuate the story of the great African-American people.

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About Henry Louis Gates

Quotes 79 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Critic
Birthday October 16

Where do real conversations about citizenship occur? In our schools.

Think about the things you learned in first grade. "My Country 'Tis of Thee," "I pledge allegiance to the flag," "America the Beautiful."

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Patriotism is best exemplified through auto-critique.

2

Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labor-saving device in the face of complexity.

1

Instill respect for teachers.

1

Ending the slave trade was contrary to British economic interests.

For all its limitations and hypocrisies - British slavery itself, of course, still continued to exist - I still think it was a great moment in human history.

0

The truth is I would do my job for free! I love it every day.

If you can possibly choose a vocation that's an avocation, a job that's really a hobby, then you'll be way ahead of the game. You should not pick an occupation because your think your parents want you to do it, or because you think it's the noble thing to do. You should only pick a job because it turns you on.

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One must learn how to be black in America.

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Kansas City Lightning succeeds as few biographies of jazz musicians have.

. . This book is a magnificent achievement; I could hardly put it down.

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We must begin to understand the nature of intertextuality .

. . the manner by which texts poems and novels respond to other texts. After all, all cats may be black at night, but not to other cats.

0

Everybody wants to have sex - you don't have to have a baby when you're 16.

You don't have to do drugs. I think our Sunday schools should be turned into Black history schools and computer schools on the weekend, just like Hebrew schools for Jewish people, or my Asian friends who send their kids to schools on the weekend to learn Chinese or Korean.

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My goal is to get everybody in America to do their family tree.

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My father, if anything, first and last, was a man of words.

He loved stories; he didn't live for stories, exactly, but I think he lived through stories. I think, like many writers, he loved stories about things he had experienced as much as, if not more than, he loved the experiences themselves.

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I didn't feel particularly close to my father.

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Remember, I have a Ph.D. in English literature.

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For me, a garden is peace of mind. It immediately takes my mind off the thing I'm puzzling about in my work and gives me repose.

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One principle I've been fighting for that doesn't endear me to a lot of people is that black people can be just as complicated and screwed up as white people. Our motives can be just as base and violent. Suffering does not necessarily ennoble you.

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It's no surprise that White people say things when they are together about Black people.

0

If America has a civic religion, the First Amendment is its central article of faith.

0

What people forget is that the most radical thing about Obama is that he was the first black man in history to imagine that he could become president, who was able to make other Americans believe it as well. Other than that, he is a centrist, just like I try to be. He's been bridging divisions his whole life.

0

We have chaos reigning in the Middle East.

There is a great deal of instability. In the past, people would have turned to their church, and some still do. Counterintuitively, people are now turning into themselves to find their roots. The way you do that is through your family tree. "Where did I come from?" There is an urge to preserve the names of the people who produced you.

0

The thing about living in a village at the foot of a mountain is that the world for you becomes, without thinking about it, self-contained. People are of two kinds, really: from the Valley, and from Elsewhere.

0

I'd say imagine that you wake up one morning when you're going through a midlife crisis. You're getting divorced. Your kids won't speak to you. Their faces are covered with acne, and you have to decide why you should get out of bed. That's the career you should pick. The one that keeps you going no matter what, even if your life is falling apart. That's how I feel about my career.

0

In the old days, you lived in one neighborhood, you knew all your neighbors and your daughter married the guy next door. That was social and economic progress. That model is gone now. We also had a world order that was fraught but fairly stable.

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It turns out one of my ancestors fought in the Continental Army, so I was inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution.

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You should not pick an occupation because your think your parents want you to do it, or because you think it's the noble thing to do. You should only pick a job because it turns you on.

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It's fascinating how life works.

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I knew that there were black people in Africa, of course, unfortunately because of movies such as 'Tarzan.'

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The truth is I would do my job for free! I love it every day.

If you can possibly choose a vocation that's an avocation, a job that's really a hobby, then you'll be way ahead of the game.

0

You had one guy who was a slave, and another who wasn't.

And I actually know what happened to them. [Juan ] Garrido ended up getting good jobs and a pension in Mexico which was the center of New Spain, as it was called. Esteban ended up being killed by the Zuni Indians.

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My producers and I worked with these consultants and came up with seventy [stories] which we think are exemplary of the larger arc of African-American history between 1513 and 2013. We covered half a millennium, and it's amazing.

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My father and I made genetics history.

We were the first African-Americans and the first father and son anywhere to have their genomes sequenced.

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In 1957, when I was in second grade, black children integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. We watched it on TV. All of us watched it. I don't mean Mama and Daddy and Rocky. I mean all the colored people in America watched it, together, with one set of eyes.

0

Thousand years ago, we all descended from Africans who left the continent.

Those ancestors, we will never know their name. We can go back 200 or 300 years and actually populate your family tree with real people who had names and documents. They had customs, characteristics that, unbeknownst to you, you have inherited. Almost through osmosis it has been passed down to you.

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America is the greatest nation ever founded.

The ideals are the greatest ever espoused in human history, and we just need the country to live up to them. But what I worry about are the 1 million black men in the prison system.

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I think literacy is everything.

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Arnold Rampersad's stunningly revealing biography has, at long last, unveiled-in magisterial prose-the very complex and vulnerable man behind Ralph Ellison's own masks and myths. One of the nation's most brilliant writers emerges as all the more fascinating precisely because he was so very human. Painstakingly researched and compellingly written, Ralph Ellison is a masterwork of the genre of literary biography.

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An impressively researched and documented collection of the finest thought produced by writers throughout the African Diaspora. A magnificent achievement.

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