New Release Books by Henry Louis Gates

Henry Louis Gates is the author of You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays (2022), The Black Church (2021), Stony the Road (2020), Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow (Scholastic Focus) (2019) and other 111 books.

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You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays

release date: Jan 06, 2022
You Don't Know Us Negroes and Other Essays
''One of the greatest writers of our time.'' Toni Morrison

The Black Church

release date: Feb 16, 2021
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.

Stony the Road

release date: Apr 07, 2020
Stony the Road
“Stony the Road presents a bracing alternative to Trump-era white nationalism. . . . In our current politics we recognize African-American history—the spot under our country’s rug where the terrorism and injustices of white supremacy are habitually swept. Stony the Road lifts the rug." —Nell Irvin Painter, New York Times Book Review A profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them, by the bestselling author of The Black Church. The abolition of slavery in the aftermath of the Civil War is a familiar story, as is the civil rights revolution that transformed the nation after World War II. But the century in between remains a mystery: if emancipation sparked "a new birth of freedom" in Lincoln''s America, why was it necessary to march in Martin Luther King, Jr.''s America? In this new book, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., one of our leading chroniclers of the African-American experience, seeks to answer that question in a history that moves from the Reconstruction Era to the "nadir" of the African-American experience under Jim Crow, through to World War I and the Harlem Renaissance. Through his close reading of the visual culture of this tragic era, Gates reveals the many faces of Jim Crow and how, together, they reinforced a stark color line between white and black Americans. Bringing a lifetime of wisdom to bear as a scholar, filmmaker, and public intellectual, Gates uncovers the roots of structural racism in our own time, while showing how African Americans after slavery combatted it by articulating a vision of a "New Negro" to force the nation to recognize their humanity and unique contributions to America as it hurtled toward the modern age. The story Gates tells begins with great hope, with the Emancipation Proclamation, Union victory, and the liberation of nearly 4 million enslaved African-Americans. Until 1877, the federal government, goaded by the activism of Frederick Douglass and many others, tried at various turns to sustain their new rights. But the terror unleashed by white paramilitary groups in the former Confederacy, combined with deteriorating economic conditions and a loss of Northern will, restored "home rule" to the South. The retreat from Reconstruction was followed by one of the most violent periods in our history, with thousands of black people murdered or lynched and many more afflicted by the degrading impositions of Jim Crow segregation. An essential tour through one of America''s fundamental historical tragedies, Stony the Road is also a story of heroic resistance, as figures such as W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells fought to create a counter-narrative, and culture, inside the lion''s mouth. As sobering as this tale is, it also has within it the inspiration that comes with encountering the hopes our ancestors advanced against the longest odds.

Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow (Scholastic Focus)

release date: Jan 29, 2019
Dark Sky Rising: Reconstruction and the Dawn of Jim Crow (Scholastic Focus)
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents a journey through America''s past and our nation''s attempts at renewal in this look at the Civil War''s conclusion, Reconstruction, and the rise of Jim Crow segregation.

100 Amazing Facts About the Negro

release date: Oct 24, 2017
100 Amazing Facts About the Negro
The first edition of Joel Augustus Rogers’s now legendary 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro with Complete Proof, published in 1934, was billed as “A Negro ‘Believe It or Not.’” Rogers’s little book was priceless because he was delivering enlightenment and pride, steeped in historical research, to a people too long starved on the lie that they were worth nothing. For African Americans of the Jim Crow era, Rogers’s was their first black history teacher. But Rogers was not always shy about embellishing the “facts” and minimizing ambiguity; neither was he above shock journalism now and then. With élan and erudition—and with winning enthusiasm—Henry Louis Gates, Jr. gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Roger’s work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African, diasporic, and African-American history in question-and-answer format. Among the one hundred questions: Who were Africa’s first ambassadors to Europe? Who was the first black president in North America? Did Lincoln really free the slaves? Who was history’s wealthiest person? What percentage of white Americans have recent African ancestry? Why did free black people living in the South before the end of the Civil War stay there? Who was the first black head of state in modern Western history? Where was the first Underground Railroad? Who was the first black American woman to be a self-made millionaire? Which black man made many of our favorite household products better? Here is a surprising, inspiring, sometimes boldly mischievous—all the while highly instructive and entertaining—compendium of historical curiosities intended to illuminate the sheer complexity and diversity of being “Negro” in the world. (With full-color illustrations throughout.)

The Fateful Triangle

release date: Sep 11, 2017
The Fateful Triangle
In this work drawn from lectures delivered in 1994 a founding figure of cultural studies reflects on the divisive, deadly consequences of our politics of identification. Stuart Hall untangles the power relations that permeate race, ethnicity, and nationhood and shows how oppressed groups broke apart old hierarchies of difference in Western culture.

Finding Your Roots, Season 2

release date: Jan 28, 2016
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 Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union

release date: Nov 20, 2014
The Night Malcolm X Spoke at the Oxford Union
Less than three months before he was assassinated, Malcolm X spoke at the Oxford Union—the most prestigious student debating organization in the United Kingdom. Stephen Tuck tells the human story behind the debate and also uses it as a starting point to discuss larger issues of Black Power, the end of empire, British race relations, immigration, and student rights. Coinciding with a student-led campaign against segregated housing, the visit enabled Malcolm X to make connections with radical students from the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia, giving him a new perspective on the global struggle for racial equality, and in turn, radicalizing a new generation of British activists.

A Black Gambler’s World of Liquor, Vice, and Presidential Politics

release date: Oct 30, 2014
A Black Gambler’s World of Liquor, Vice, and Presidential Politics
A well-researched biography of William Thomas Scott, an entrepreneur and political activist with a past of gambling and vice trades. He was briefly the first African American nominee of a national political party for president of the United States until his controversial past led to his abrupt political downfall.

In Search of Our Roots

release date: May 02, 2017
In Search of Our Roots
Unlike most white Americans who can search their ancestral records, identifying who among their forebears was the first to step foot on this country’s shores, most African Americans encounter a series of daunting obstacles when trying to trace their family’s past. Slavery brutally negated identity, denying black men and women even their names. But from that legacy of slavery have sprung generations who’ve struggled, thrived, and lived extraordinary lives. For too long, African Americans’ family trees have been barren of branches, but advanced genetic testing techniques, combined with archival research, have begun to fill in the gaps. Here, scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., backed by an elite team of geneticists and researchers, takes nineteen extraordinary African Americans on a once unimaginable journey, tracing family sagas through U.S. history and back to Africa. Dr. Gates brings to life the recovered pasts of: Oprah Winfrey Whoopi Goldberg Chris Rock Tina Turner Maya Angelou Peter Gomes Mae Jemison Quincy Jones Morgan Freeman Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Tom Joyner Benjamin Carson T.D. Jakes Linda Johnson Rice Kathleen Henderson Jackie Joyner-Kersee Don Cheadle Bliss Broyard Chris Tucker More than a work of history, In Search of Our Roots is an important book that, for the first time, brings to light the lives of ordinary men and women who, by courageous example, blazed a path for their famous descendants. In accompanying the nineteen contemporary achievers on their journey into the past and meeting their remarkable forebears, we come to know ourselves.

The African Americans

release date: Feb 02, 2016
The African Americans
The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross is the companion book to the six-part, six-hour documentary of the same name, which aired on national, prime-time public television in the fall of 2013. The series is the first to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of 500 years of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent and the arrival of the first black conquistador, Juan Garrido, in Florida in 1513, through five centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when Barack Obama is serving his second term as President, yet our country remains deeply divided by race and class. The book explores these topics in even more detail than possible in the television series, and examines many other fascinating matters as well, such as the ethnic origins—and the regional and cultural diversity—of the Africans whose enslavement led to the creation of the African American people. It delves into the multiplicity of cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives that African Americans have created in the half a millennium since their African ancestors first arrived on these shores. Like the television series, this book guides readers on an engaging journey through the Black Atlantic world—from Africa and Europe to the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States—to shed new light on what it has meant, and means, to be an African American. By highlighting the complex internal debates and class differences within the Black Experience in this country, readers will learn that the African American community, which black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as a "nation within a nation," has never been a truly uniform entity, and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion and belief from their very first days in this country. The road to freedom for black people in America has not been linear; rather, much like the course of a river, it has been full of loops and eddies, slowing and occasionally reversing current. Ultimately, this book emphasizes the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.

The Signifying Monkey

release date: Jun 24, 2014
The Signifying Monkey
Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as "eclectic, exciting, convincing, provocative" and in The Washington Post Book World as "brilliantly original," Henry Louis Gates, Jr.''s The Signifying Monkey is a groundbreaking work that illuminates the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature. It elaborates a new critical approach located within this tradition that allows the black voice to speak for itself. Examining the ancient poetry and myths found in African, Latin American, and Caribbean culture, Gates uncovers a unique system for interpretation and a powerful vernacular tradition that black slaves brought with them to the New World. Exploring the process of signification in black American life and literature by analyzing the transmission and revision of various signifying figures, Gates provides an extended analysis of what he calls the "Talking Book," a central trope in early slave narratives that virtually defines the tradition of black American letters. Gates uses this critical framework to examine several major works of African-American literature--including Zora Neale Hurston''s Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ralph Ellison''s Invisible Man, and Ishmael Reed''s Mumbo Jumbo--revealing how these works signify on the black tradition and on each other. This superb 25th-Anniversary Edition features a new preface by Gates that reflects on the impact of the book and its relevance for today''s society as well as a new afterword written by noted critic W. T. J. Mitchell.

Black in Latin America

release date: Aug 01, 2012
Black in Latin America
12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World during the Middle Passage. While just over 11.0 million survived the arduous journey, only about 450,000 of them arrived in the United States. The rest-over ten and a half million-were taken to the Caribbean and Latin America. This astonishing fact changes our entire picture of the history of slavery in the Western hemisphere, and of its lasting cultural impact. These millions of Africans created new and vibrant cultures, magnificently compelling syntheses of various African, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish influences. Despite their great numbers, the cultural and social worlds that they created remain largely unknown to most Americans, except for certain popular, cross-over musical forms. So Henry Louis Gates, Jr. set out on a quest to discover how Latin Americans of African descent live now, and how the countries of their acknowledge-or deny-their African past; how the fact of race and African ancestry play themselves out in the multicultural worlds of the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting with the slave experience and extending to the present, Gates unveils the history of the African presence in six Latin American countries-Brazil, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Mexico, and Peru-through art, music, cuisine, dance, politics, and religion, but also the very palpable presence of anti-black racism that has sometimes sought to keep the black cultural presence from view.

The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader

release date: May 01, 2012
The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader
Educator, writer, critic, intellectual, film-maker-Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has been widely praised as being one of America''s most prominent and prolific scholars. In what will be an essential volume, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Reader collects three decades of writings from his many fields of interest and expertise. From his earliest work of literary-historical excavation in 1982, through his current writings on the history and science of African American genealogy, the essays collected here follow his path as historian, theorist, canon-builder, and cultural critic, revealing a thinker of uncommon breadth whose work is uniformly guided by the drive to uncover and restore a history that has for too long been buried and denied. An invaluable reference, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Reader will be a singular reflection of one of our most gifted minds.

Picturing Frederick Douglass

release date: Jan 01, 2015
Picturing Frederick Douglass
A landmark and collectible volume--beautifully produced in duotone--that canonizes Frederick Douglass through historic photography.

The Future of the Race

release date: Jul 20, 2011
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

Colored People

release date: Jul 06, 2011
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

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man

release date: Jun 08, 2011
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man
"This is a book of stories," writes Henry Louis Gates, "and all might be described as ''narratives of ascent.''" As some remarkable men talk about their lives, many perspectives on race and gender emerge. For the notion of the unitary black man, Gates argues, is as imaginary as the creature that the poet Wallace Stevens conjured in his poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." James Baldwin, Colin Powell, Harry Belafonte, Bill T. Jones, Louis Farrakhan, Anatole Broyard, Albert Murray -- all these men came from modest circumstances and all achieved preeminence. They are people, Gates writes, "who have shaped the world as much as they were shaped by it, who gave as good as they got." Three are writers -- James Baldwin, who was once regarded as the intellectual spokesman for the black community; Anatole Broyard, who chose to hide his black heritage so as to be seen as a writer on his own terms; and Albert Murray, who rose to the pinnacle of literary criticism. There is the general-turned-political-figure Colin Powell, who discusses his interactions with three United States presidents; there is Harry Belafonte, the entertainer whose career has been distinct from his fervent activism; there is Bill T. Jones, dancer and choreographer, whose fierce courage and creativity have continued in the shadow of AIDS; and there is Louis Farrakhan, the controversial religious leader. These men and others speak of their lives with candor and intimacy, and what emerges from this portfolio of influential men is a strikingly varied and profound set of ideas about what it means to be a black man in America today.

Life Upon These Shores

release date: Jan 01, 2011
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.)

The Trials of Phillis Wheatley

release date: Oct 01, 2010
The Trials of Phillis Wheatley
In 1773, the slave Phillis Wheatley literally wrote her way to freedom. The first person of African descent to publish a book of poems in English, she was emancipated by her owners in recognition of her literary achievement. For a time, Wheatley was the most famous black woman in the West. But Thomas Jefferson, unlike his contemporaries Ben Franklin and George Washington, refused to acknowledge her gifts as a writer a repudiation that eventually inspired generations of black writers to build an extraordinary body of literature in their efforts to prove him wrong. In The Trials of Phillis Wheatley, Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores the pivotal roles that Wheatley and Jefferson played in shaping the black literary tradition. Writing with all the lyricism and critical skill that place him at the forefront of American letters, Gates brings to life the characters, debates, and controversy that surrounded Wheatley in her day and ours.

Tradition and the Black Atlantic

release date: Aug 24, 2010
Tradition and the Black Atlantic
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.''s Tradition and the Black Atlantic is both a vibrant romp down the rabbit hole of cultural studies and an examination of the discipline''s roots and role in contemporary thought. In this conversational tour through the halls of theory, Gates leaps from Richard Wright to Spike Lee, from Pat Buchanan to Frantz Fanon, and ultimately to the source of anticolonialist thought: the unlikely figure of Edmund Burke. Throughout Tradition and the Black Atlantic, Gates shows that the culture wars have presented us with a surfeit of either/ors—tradition versus modernity; Eurocentrism versus Afrocentricism. Pointing us away from these facile dichotomies, Gates deftly combines rigorous scholarship with humor, looking back to the roots of cultural studies in order to map out its future course.

America Behind the Color Line

America Behind the Color Line
Renowned scholar and "New York Times" bestselling author Gates delivers a stirring and authoritative companion to the major new PBS documentary "America Behind the Color Line." The book includes thought-provoking essays from Colin Powell, Morgan Freeman, Russell Simmons, Vernon Jordan, Alicia Keys, Bernie Mac, and Quincy Jones.

Teachers Have it Easy

release date: Jul 19, 2010
Teachers Have it Easy
Since its initial publication and multiple reprints in hardcover in 2005, Teachers Have It Easy has attracted the attention of teachers nationwide, appearing on the New York Times extended bestseller list, C-SPAN, and NPR''s Marketplace, in additio...

Faces of America

release date: Jul 06, 2010
Faces of America
Shares the family trees and genetic profiles of twelve famous Americans from diverse backgrounds.
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