Best Selling Books by Henry Louis Gates

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The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader

release date: May 01, 2012
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The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader
A scholarly primer by the intellectual and author Henry Louis Gates, Jr. collects three decades of his writings in a range of fields, in a volume that also offers insight into his achievements as a historian, theorist, and cultural critic.

The Black Church

release date: Feb 16, 2021
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The Black Church
The instant New York Times bestseller and companion book to the PBS series. “Absolutely brilliant...A necessary and moving work.” —Eddie S. Glaude, Jr., author of Begin Again “Engaging. . . . In Gates’s telling, the Black church shines bright even as the nation itself moves uncertainly through the gloaming, seeking justice on earth—as it is in heaven.” —Jon Meacham, New York Times Book Review From the New York Times bestselling author of Stony the Road and one of our most important voices on the African American experience comes a powerful new history of the Black church as a foundation of Black life and a driving force in the larger freedom struggle in America. For the young Henry Louis Gates, Jr., growing up in a small, residentially segregated West Virginia town, the church was a center of gravity—an intimate place where voices rose up in song and neighbors gathered to celebrate life's blessings and offer comfort amid its trials and tribulations. In this tender and expansive reckoning with the meaning of the Black Church in America, Gates takes us on a journey spanning more than five centuries, from the intersection of Christianity and the transatlantic slave trade to today’s political landscape. At road’s end, and after Gates’s distinctive meditation on the churches of his childhood, we emerge with a new understanding of the importance of African American religion to the larger national narrative—as a center of resistance to slavery and white supremacy, as a magnet for political mobilization, as an incubator of musical and oratorical talent that would transform the culture, and as a crucible for working through the Black community’s most critical personal and social issues. In a country that has historically afforded its citizens from the African diaspora tragically few safe spaces, the Black Church has always been more than a sanctuary. This fact was never lost on white supremacists: from the earliest days of slavery, when enslaved people were allowed to worship at all, their meetinghouses were subject to surveillance and destruction. Long after slavery’s formal eradication, church burnings and bombings by anti-Black racists continued, a hallmark of the violent effort to suppress the African American struggle for equality. The past often isn’t even past—Dylann Roof committed his slaughter in the Mother Emanuel AME Church 193 years after it was first burned down by white citizens of Charleston, South Carolina, following a thwarted slave rebellion. But as Gates brilliantly shows, the Black church has never been only one thing. Its story lies at the heart of the Black political struggle, and it has produced many of the Black community’s most notable leaders. At the same time, some churches and denominations have eschewed political engagement and exemplified practices of exclusion and intolerance that have caused polarization and pain. Those tensions remain today, as a rising generation demands freedom and dignity for all within and beyond their communities, regardless of race, sex, or gender. Still, as a source of faith and refuge, spiritual sustenance and struggle against society’s darkest forces, the Black Church has been central, as this enthralling history makes vividly clear.

Finding Your Roots, Season 2

release date: Jan 28, 2016
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Finding Your Roots, Season 2
Who are we, and where do we come from? The fundamental drive to answer these questions is at the heart of Finding Your Roots, the companion book to the hit PBS documentary series. As scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. clearly demonstrates, the tools of cutting-edge genomics and deep genealogical research now allow us to learn more about our roots and look further back in time than ever before. In the second season, Gates's investigation takes on the personal and genealogical histories of more than twenty luminaries, including Ken Burns, Stephen King, Derek Jeter, Governor Deval Patrick, Valerie Jarrett, and Sally Field. As Gates interlaces these moving stories of immigration, assimilation, strife, and success, he provides practical information for amateur genealogists just beginning archival research on their own families' roots and details the advances in genetic research now available to the public. The result is an illuminating exploration of who we are, how we lost track of our roots, and how we can find them again.

The Future of the Race

release date: Jul 20, 2011
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The Future of the Race
Almost one-hundred years ago, W.E.B. Du Bois proposed the notion of the "talented tenth," an African American elite that would serve as leaders and models for the larger black community. In this unprecedented collaboration, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Cornel West--two of Du Bois's most prominent intellectual descendants--reassess that relationship and its implications for the future of black Americans. If the 1990s are the best of times for the heirs of the Talented Tenth, they are unquestionably worse for the growing black underclass. As they examine the origins of this widening gulf and propose solutions for it, Gates and West combine memoir and biography, social analysis and cultural survey into a book that is incisive and compassionate, cautionary and deeply stirring. "Today's most public African American intellectual voices...West and Gates have made a valuable contribution."--Julian Bond, Philadelphia Inquirer "Brilliant...a social, cultural and political blueprint...that attempts to illumine the future path for blacks and American democracy."--New York Daily News "Henry Louis Gates., Jr., and Cornel West are among the most renowned American intellectuals of our time."--New York Times Book Review

Figures in Black

release date: Jan 01, 1989
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Figures in Black
Argues that Black literature cannot be characterized strictly as social realism, and offers a textual analysis of works by eighteenth- to twentieth-century Black writers

Finding Oprah's Roots

release date: Jan 01, 2007
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Finding Oprah's Roots
A guide for recovering one's family heritage through revealing Oprah Winfrey's roots, and teaches that who we are is startlingly influenced by the paths of our ancestors.

The African-American Century

release date: Feb 05, 2002
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The African-American Century
Profiles one hundred influential African Americans who helped shape the history of the twentieth century, including revered figures in the fields of music, literature, sports, science, politics, and the civil rights movement.

The Signifying Monkey

release date: Dec 14, 1989
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The Signifying Monkey
The Signifying Monkey is the first book of literary criticism to trace the roots of contemporary Black literature to Afro-American folklore and to the traditions of African languages. As the author examines the ancient poetry of the Ifa Oracle (found in Nigeria, Benin, Brazil, Cuba, and Haiti), he uncovers the origins of a sacred system of divination, brought to America by black slaves who felt it to be the very "heart-beat" of their souls. Gates demonstrates how a heroic and popular character called the Signifying Monkey emerged from this divination and came to pervade Afro-American culture. In providing masterful readings of literary works by Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Jean Toomer, Richard Wright, and Ishmael Reed--and in defining how the works of these authors "signify upon" each other--the author delivers a powerful and ground-breaking work of critical theory. Many previously unpublished tales about the Monkey, as well as those already published, are collected in a detailed appendix.

Colored People

release date: Jul 06, 2011
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Colored People
In a coming-of-age story as enchantingly vivid and ribald as anything Mark Twain or Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., recounts his childhood in the mill town of Piedmont, West Virginia, in the 1950s and 1960s and ushers readers into a gossip, of lye-and-mashed-potato “processes,” and of slyly stubborn resistance to the indignities of segregation. A winner of the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Award and the Lillian Smith Prize, Colored People is a pungent and poignant masterpiece of recollection, a work that extends and deepens our sense of African American history even as it entrances us with its bravura storytelling

Life Upon These Shores

release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Life Upon These Shores
A director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard presents a sumptuously illustrated chronicle of more than 500 years of African-American history that focuses on defining events, debates and controversies as well as important achievements of famous and lesser-known figures, in a volume complemented by reproductions of ancient maps and historical paraphernalia. (This title was previously list in Forecast.)
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