henry_louis_gates   33

Martin Kilson, Scholar and Racial Pathbreaker at Harvard, Dies at 88
April 30, 2019 | The New York Times | By Richard Sandomir.

Martin Kilson, a leftist scholar, fierce debater and follower of W. E. B. Du Bois who became the first tenured African-American professor at Harvard, died on April 24 in Lincoln, Mass. He was 88.....Professor Kilson was a prolific writer, an expert on ethnic politics in Africa and the United States, and a mentor to generations of students, among them the writer, teacher and philosopher Cornel West......Professor Kilson, an avowed integrationist, was already teaching courses in African politics in the 1960s when black students were starting to assert themselves on predominantly white campuses like Harvard.......Professor Kilson was a faculty sponsor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Association of African and Afro-American Students. But after the university’s Afro-American studies department was established in 1969, he became disenchanted with its governance, criticizing it as lacking academic rigor and maintaining that it had become an enclave for radical black students.

“Black solidarity forces are distinctly anti-intellectual and anti-achievement in orientation,” he wrote in a provocative essay about Harvard in The New York Times Magazine in 1973. “They indulge in the ‘black magic’ of nationalism, believing that miracles are possible if Negroes display fidelity to black nationalism or separatism and its anti-white attitudes, rituals and symbols.”....Kilson argued that the radical politics of separatists was an academic dead end.....“It took extraordinary courage in 1969 to challenge Black Panther and black power rhetoric,” the Rev. Eugene Rivers III, a former student of Professor Kilson’s, said in a telephone interview. “And he was right.”......Professor Kilson encountered Du Bois, the pioneering urban sociologist who was a founder of the N.A.A.C.P., as a freshman at Lincoln University, a HBCU....Du Bois remained an influence throughout Professor Kilson’s career....Harvard hired him as a lecturer in government in 1962. He was named an assistant professor two years later and granted tenure in 1968.

“He took a lot of pride in that accomplishment,” his daughter Hannah Kilson said in a telephone interview....Kilson used that sharp pen in 2002 when he challenged Randall L. Kennedy, a distinguished African-American professor at Harvard Law School, over the title of Professor Kennedy’s book “Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word.”
academic_rigor  African-Americans  Black_Panthers  black_nationalism  black_power  black_separatism  black_studies  Cornel_West  Eugene_Rivers  Harvard  Henry_Louis_Gates  integration  left-wing  obituaries  PhDs  scholars  trailblazers  W.E.B._Du_Bois  wishful_thinking 
may 2019 by jerryking
In ‘Stony the Road,’ Henry Louis Gates Jr. Captures the History and Images of the Fraught Years After the Civil War
April 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nell Irvin Painter.

STONY THE ROAD
Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
By Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Illustrated. 296 pp. Penguin Press. $30.

Vergangenheitsbewältigung = coming to terms with the past — and it carries connotations of a painful history that citizens would rather not confront but that must be confronted in order not to be repeated.
20th_century  African-Americans  bigotry  books  book_reviews  Henry_Louis_Gates  historians  history  Jim_Crow  John_Hope_Franklin  KKK  lynchings  memorabilia  racial_politics  Reconstruction  stereotypes  torture  white_nationalism  white_supremacy  imagery  Vergangenheitsbewältigung  W.E.B._Du_Bois  iconic 
april 2019 by jerryking
The History the Slaveholders Wanted Us to Forget - The New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

Except for the relatively few African-Americans who saw through such racist fictions of Africa, drawn upon to devalue their humanity and justify their relegation to second-class citizenship — people such as Garvey, Henry Highland Garnet, Martin R. Delany, W.E.B. Du Bois (who would die a citizen of Ghana), Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou — far too many of us felt that “Africa” was something of an embarrassment. Richard Wright, the great novelist, published a book titled “Black Power” in 1954 about feeling that way.
historical_amnesia  historians  history  slavery  Africa  ignorance  slaveholders  Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  second-class_citizenship  humanity  W.E.B._Du_Bois  Black_Power  erasures 
february 2017 by jerryking
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Restoring Black History
SEPT. 23, 2016 | - The New York Times | By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.

The opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington helps to resolve the protracted debate about the contributions of black people to American history and, indeed, about whether they had a history worth preserving at all. Those questions were at the heart of the nation’s original debate about whether, and how, black lives matter.....“History,” James Baldwin wrote, “is not merely something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do.”.... the opening of the museum ...reinscribes race at a symbolically central place in American culture, on the National Mall, where we celebrate our collective public histories, ensuring that a mountain of evidence about black contributions to America will be on permanent display....More than a museum, the building on the National Mall is a refutation of two and a half centuries of the misuse of history to reinforce a social order in which black people were enslaved, then systematically repressed and denied their rights when freed. It also repudiates the long and dismal tradition of objectifying black people in museums.
slavery  Jim_Crow  history  historians  Henry_Louis_Gates  museums  Washington_D.C.  African-Americans  Thomas_Jefferson  Enlightenment  Hegel  John_Hope_Franklin  W.E.B._Du_Bois  Carter_Woodson  Arthur_Schomburg  Obama  James_Baldwin  Smithsonian  David_Adjaye 
september 2016 by jerryking
Black America and the Class Divide - The New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.FEB. 1, 2016

there are really two nations within Black America. The problem of income inequality, Dr. Wilson concludes, is not between Black America and White America but between black haves and have-nots, something we don’t often discuss in public in an era dominated by a narrative of fear and failure and the claim that racism impacts 42 million people in all the same ways.
Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  Colleges_&_Universities  WEB_Dubois  crisis  disintegration  social_classes  leadership  income_inequality  underclass 
february 2016 by jerryking
Most Black Students at Harvard Are From High-Income Families</A>
In a 2004 interview Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard, told the London Observer, “The black kids who come to Harvard or Yale are middle class. Nobody else gets through.”

That same year Professor Gates, speaking at a public forum at Princeton University, stated his belief that 75 percent of the black students at Harvard were of African or Caribbean descent or of mixed race. According to Professor Gates, more than two thirds of all Harvard's black students were either the children or grandchildren of West Indians or Africans and very few of Harvard's black students were the descendants of American slaves.
Henry_Louis_Gates  Harvard  students  middle_class  Colleges_&_Universities  Afro-Caribbeans  African-Americans 
may 2015 by jerryking
Black faces in art history begin with the Pharaohs - FT.com
March 13, 2015| FT | Martin Peretz.

Sir, In a standfirst to the review by Ariella Budick of the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit of Kehinde Wiley’s paintings, the FT makes a horrendous mistake by asserting that “Black faces have long been excluded from art history” (“Old Masters remixed”, Life & Arts. Of course, if one were to do a count of black faces among the countless general chronicles in the field, that would be true. But the past quarter century has changed all that. More to the point, the founder of the Houston-based Menil Collection, Dominique de Menil, underwrote a vast project that has culminated in a five-volume, illustrated and gorgeous study of The Image of the Black in Western Art, (http://www.imageoftheblack.com/) edited by David Blackman and Henry Lewis Gates Jr.

It begins with the pharaohs and ends only yesterday.
letters_to_the_editor  art  Africans  books  Henry_Louis_Gates  museums  imagery  portraiture  exclusion  art_history 
march 2015 by jerryking
Black On Both Sides
Toure‘s new book Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness is meant to be provocative. He interviews 105 prominent African-Americans in an effort to expand a conversation about identity politics and what it means to be Black in the age of Obama. The book is limited to African-Americans where it could have included the diaspora, but he does speak to a wide range of thinkers, from Dave Chappelle, whose show Toure regards a cultural marker in the 21st century shift of the way race is discussed, to Kara Walker, the famous artist whose work has always invoked riotous conversations about slavery. Scholars like Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates, Blair Murphy Kelley and inaugural poet Elizabeth Alexander are given space to unpack their ideas. In the book Toure is careful to distinguish “post-Blackness” from what he calls the meaningless “post-racial.” Here we talk book reviews, skydiving and Nazis.

Life+Times: You’ve really been making the rounds. Your new book is a conversation starter. Talk to me about how you’ve experienced its reception.
Toure: It’s made The New York Times‘ and The Washington Post‘s “100 Most Notable Books of The Year” lists and I’ve gotten incredible reviews so mostly it’s been gratifying. I also love when I’m walking down the street and I encounter people who thank me, who tell me they needed this book when they were a kid, that they needed to hear this message, that they feel pulled back in. Then there are detractors who fall into several categories: [Those who have] not read the book they reject it because they don’t like the concept. People who don’t like me or the fact that I’ve married outside of the Black-American community (my wife is a Lebanese-American) and are like ‘How dare you try and speak for us’ or, people who’ve read it and disagree and have informed and legitimate counterpoints.

L+T: Are identity politics dead?
Toure: No, they’re still very important. To be Black or Italian or Jewish or gay matters, not only to who you are but how you experience the world. So I wouldn’t say dead. But what I was trying to do is get people to see a broad potential for identity, that it could be performed in a variety of ways. I want to graduate from legitimacy or authenticity arguments or essentialist way of reducing Black identity.

L+T: I know you’ve done it other places, but please define for me what you mean by “Post-Blackness.”
Toure: It’s being rooted in but not constrained by Blackness. We want to be Black. We want to be grounded in Blackness. Blackness shapes us, and will and should continue to shape us but at the same time there’s a buffet of things you can do or be that don’t have anything to do with “being Black” and I wanted to look at those things. The skydiving example is one that sums it up in the book. It was an example where I was told “Black people don’t do this.”

L+T: Most people don’t skydive. It’s a forfeiture of your life insurance policy.
Toure: Absolutely. But skydiving changed me, and my relationship with God. It cemented my certainty that there must be a God. I wasn’t an atheist before I went, but I was convinced of God when I skydived. What if I hadn’t gone because I believed skydiving was simply something Black men don’t do? Then I would’ve missed out on an experience that helped me grow as a human. The experience that I had and the way it made me grow made me want to go home and attend a Baptist church service in Brooklyn.

L+T: What inspired you to expound upon Thelma Golden and Glenn Ligon‘s term “post Blackness”?
Toure: In the catalog for the show Fresstyle, which Thelma Golden curated for the Studio Museum of Harlem, she wrote about her and Glenn Ligon searching for a way to talk about art that had evolved from what we’d typically considered “Black art.” In 1989 Trey Ellis‘ New Black Aesthetic was published and be began a conversation about “cultural mulattoes,” so I wasn’t the only one noticing it, this nuanced shift in Black identity politics. The argument was being made that the potential for identity freedom is infinite. There are a million ways to be Black.

L+T: Some people simply don’t have access to that freedom.
Toure: That’s true. It’s very easy to say working class or people in jail don’t have access to that freedom. But it’s also too simplistic to say only middle class people can sit around and philosophize about who they are. We know there are many working class people who are coming up with their own philosophies. It’s kind of like with white privilege. Not all white people have access to white privilege, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

L+T: What about the idea of exploring Post-whiteness?
Toure: The way we interact with Blackness and they way they interact with whiteness are not equal. It informs and restricts our lives the way it informs and restricts Jewish peoples’ lives or homosexuals’ lives. Whiteness doesn’t constrict their lives. White people have always been able to do what they want to do and not to be held back by whiteness. It’s not equivalent to the impact Blackness has had in our lives.

L+T: What about our culture is restrictive?
Toure: In previous generations, there was a sense of movement, an army that we were in – we were marching forward for democracy, it was a struggle that was tangible. Within that movement it was valuable, maybe even necessary, to have a cohesiveness to the way we were moving together in a certain direction as Black people. Our generation doesn’t have the same restrictions, we can get into schools, we can get the bank loans, move where and how we want.

L+T: Well that’s certainly not true, not in a wide way. Education, housing, even the recent subprime scandal, are all grossly informed by race.
Toure: I’m not espousing something, I’m reporting something that already exists, I know that there are large numbers of Black people who are not benefiting from these new freedoms. Many people aren’t feeling the benefits of it. A lot of white people could say “This doesn’t feel like a free or prosperous country for me,” too. Fair enough, I can’t change that for you. The nature of racism has morphed. We still have institutional racism but we have a more amorphous racism that’s harder to see. And it’s a fact that a lot of the ways we interact with Blackness is different than our grandparents’ and we’re seeing that shift happen in our lifetime. We don’t have total freedom but we have far more opportunities than our parents and grandparents did.

L+T: In your book you ask people what was the most racist thing that every happened to them. Everyone had an answer to that question. Did anyone’s answer surprise you?
Toure: Everyone was ready with a story! No one had to reach too far back in their memory. This is luggage that sits by the door for us, whether it’s 10 or 20 years ago. The stories people shared with me were massively impactful; the answers were often tied to who people became. These were seminal events in peoples’ lives. None of the stories surprised me, we share these stories amongst each other, we’re familiar with these stories. But I was grateful for people’s honesty, in some cases they were telling me stories their families didn’t want repeated. Jesse Jackson‘s story about his grandfather being a Black soldier in World War II Germany and having less rights on the army base than the Nazi POWs seemed so incomprehensible that it was like an exaggeration. The most immoral people of the last century got more respect than Black soldiers who were risking their lives for freedom? Then [former New York City mayor] David Dinkins spontaneously told me the same exact story.
Leisure  books  david_dinkins  glenn_ligon  henry_louis_gates  jessie_jackson  kara_walker  life+times  president_barack_obama  toure  from google
january 2012 by aavery84
Breaking the Silence - New York Times
By HENRY LOUIS GATES JR
Published: August 01, 2004

Scholars such as my Harvard colleague William Julius Wilson say that the causes of black poverty are both structural and behavioral. Think of structural causes as ''the devil made me do it,'' and behavioral causes as ''the devil is in me.'' Structural causes are faceless systemic forces, like the disappearance of jobs. Behavioral causes are self-destructive life choices and personal habits. To break the conspiracy of silence, we have to address both of these factors.
African-Americans  Henry_Louis_Gates  Obama  Bill_Cosby  anti-intellectualism  scholars  silence  self-destructive  William_Julius_Wilson 
november 2011 by jerryking
Forty Acres and a Gap in Wealth
by HENRY LOUIS GATES Jr.
Published: November 18, 2007

The telltale fact is that the biggest gap in black prosperity isn’t in income, but in wealth. According to a study by the economist Edward N. Wolff, the median net worth of non-Hispanic black households in 2004 was only $11,800 — less than 10 percent that of non-Hispanic white households, $118,300. Perhaps a bold and innovative approach to the problem of black poverty — one floated during the Civil War but never fully put into practice — would be to look at ways to turn tenants into homeowners. Sadly, in the wake of the subprime mortgage debacle, an enormous number of houses are being repossessed. But for the black poor, real progress may come only once they have an ownership stake in American society.

People who own property feel a sense of ownership in their future and their society. They study, save, work, strive and vote. And people trapped in a culture of tenancy do not.

The sad truth is that the civil rights movement cannot be reborn until we identify the causes of black suffering, some of them self-inflicted. Why can’t black leaders organize rallies around responsible sexuality, birth within marriage, parents reading to their children and students staying in school and doing homework?
Henry_Louis_Gates  African-Americans  owners  land  property_ownership  achievement_gaps  racial_disparities  personal_finance  wealth_creation  real_estate  social_classes  subprime  home_ownership  generational_wealth  ownership 
november 2011 by jerryking
Harvard Radical
August 24, 2003 | The New York Times Magazine p28 col 01 (165 col)| by James Traub.

The fundamental reason Summers wants to change the undergraduate curriculum is that, as he explains, the nature of knowledge has changed so radically. Summers often says that one of the two most important phenomena of the last quarter-century is the revolution in the biological sciences. And yet, as he also often says, while it is socially unacceptable at an elite university to admit that you haven't read a Shakespeare play, no stigma at all attaches to not knowing the difference between a gene and a chromosome or the meaning of exponential growth. Summers compares this ignorance to the provinciality of never having traveled abroad. He wants every student to live in science for a while and not just to do some sightseeing in a course designed to help you ''think like a biologist.'' Summers is not categorically opposed to the ''ways of thinking'' approach. ''The hard question,'' he said, ''is the line between learning a lot of science in one area and surveying more broadly but less deeply and thus less close to the genuine professional enterprise.''
Larry_Summers  Harvard  Cornel_West  Henry_Louis_Gates  deanships  curriculum  leadership  Colleges_&_Universities  elitism  Ivy_League 
april 2011 by jerryking
Breaking the Silence - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com
Aug. 1, 2004 | New York Times | By HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. Why
has it been so difficult for black leaders to say such things in
public, without being pilloried for ''blaming the victim''? Why the huge
flap over Bill Cosby's insistence that black teenagers do their
homework, stay in school, master standard English and stop having
babies?...Yet in too many black neighborhoods today, academic
achievement has actually come to be stigmatized. ...Making it, as Mr.
Obama told me, ''requires diligent effort and deferred gratification.
Everybody sitting around their kitchen table knows that.''...the causes
of black poverty are both structural and behavioral. Think of structural
causes as ''the devil made me do it,'' and behavioral causes as ''the
devil is in me.'' Structural causes are faceless systemic forces, like
the disappearance of jobs. Behavioral causes are self-destructive life
choices and personal habits. To break the conspiracy of silence, we have
to address both of these factors.
African-Americans  Henry_Louis_Gates  silence  Obama  self-destructive  anti-intellectualism  poverty  values  Bill_Cosby  delayed_gratification  structural_change  academic_achievement 
september 2010 by jerryking

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