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Main > Education & Institutions > Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (born September 16, 1950, Piedmont, West Virginia) is a literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. Gates currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, where he is Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The recipient of nearly 50 honorary degrees and numerous academic and social action awards, Gates was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1981 and was listed in Time among its "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997.

As a literary historian committed to the preservation and study of historical texts, Gates has been integral to the Black Periodical Literature Project, an archive of black newspapers and magazines. As a prominent black intellectual, Gates has focused throughout his career not only on his research and teaching but on building academic institutions to study black culture. Additionally, he has worked to bring about social, educational, and intellectual equality for black Americans and has written pieces in The New York Times that defend rap music and an article in Sports Illustrated that criticizes black youth culture for glorifying basketball over education. In 1992, he received a George Polk Award for his social commentary in The New York Times.

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