Best Selling Audio Books by Henry Louis Gates

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The Trials of Phillis Wheatley

release date: Jan 01, 2010
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The Trials of Phillis Wheatley
Traces the roles that Wheatley and Jefferson played in the shaping of African-American literary tradition, discussing Wheatley's rise to fame and Jefferson's disputed role as the father of the black freedom struggle.

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.

In Search of Our Roots

release date: Jan 27, 2009
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In Search of Our Roots
Unlike most white Americans who, if they are so inclined, can search their ancestral records, identifying who among their forebears was the first to set foot on this country’s shores, most African Americans, in tracing their family’s past, encounter a series of daunting obstacles. Slavery was a brutally efficient nullifier of identity, willfully denying black men and women even their names. Yet, from that legacy of slavery, there have sprung generations who’ve struggled, thrived, and lived extraordinary lives. For too long, African Americans’ family trees have been barren of branches, but, very recently, 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. Those whose recovered pasts collectively form an African American “people’s history” of the United States include celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Don Cheadle, Chris Tucker, Morgan Freeman, Tina Turner, and Quincy Jones; writers such as Maya Angelou and Bliss Broyard; leading thinkers such as Harvard divinity professor Peter Gomes, the Reverend T. D. Jakes, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot; and famous achievers such as astronaut Mae Jemison, media personality Tom Joyner, decathlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Ebony and Jet publisher Linda Johnson Rice. More than a work of history, In Search of Our Roots is a book of revelatory importance 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. For a reader, there is the stirring pleasure of witnessing long-forgotten struggles and triumphs–but there’s an enduring reward as well. In accompanying the nineteen contemporary achievers on their journey into the past and meeting their remarkable forebears, we come to know ourselves.

100 Amazing Facts about the Negro

release date: Jan 01, 2017
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100 Amazing Facts about the Negro
"In 1934, 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof: A Short Cut to the World History of the Negro was published by Joel A. Rogers, a largely self-educated black journalist and historian. Now ... Henry Louis Gates, Jr., gives us a corrective yet loving homage to Rogers's work. Relying on the latest scholarship, Gates leads us on a romp through African American history and gossip in question and answer format"--Provided by publisher.

Tradition and the Black Atlantic

release date: Aug 24, 2010
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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.

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.

America Behind the Color Line

America Behind the Color Line
Examines four different elements of the African American experience as well as the legacy of the Civil Rights movement, in a collection of essays based on interviews with Colin Powell, Morgan Freeman, Vernon Jordan, and other notables.

Wonders of the African World

release date: Jan 01, 2001
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Wonders of the African World
Offers an illustrated journey through the history and contributions of Africa's lost civilizations, from the ancient pyramids of Nubia to the ruins of Ethiopia's Christian kingdom to the great library and university of Timbuktu.

Our Nig

release date: Jan 01, 2011
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Our Nig
"Expanded edition, with additional notes and commentary"--Cover.

Finding Oprah's Roots

release date: Jan 23, 2007
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Finding Oprah's Roots
Finding Oprah’s Roots will not only endow readers with a new appreciation for the key contributions made by history’s unsung but also equip them with the tools to connect to pivotal figures in their own past. A roadmap through the intricacies of public documents and online databases, the book also highlights genetic testing resources that can make it possible to know one’s distant tribal roots in Africa. For Oprah, the path back to the past was emotion-filled and profoundly illuminating, connecting the narrative of her family to the larger American narrative and “anchoring” her in a way not previously possible. For the reader, Finding Oprah’s Roots offers the possibility of an equally rewarding experience.
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