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Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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    (September 16, 1950- )
    Born in Piedmont, West Virginia
    Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard
    Wrote 'The Signifying Monkey' (1988), 'Loose Canons: Notes on the Culture Wars' (1992), 'Colored People: A Memoir' (1994), 'The Future of the Race' (1996), 'The African American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Century' (2000) and 'Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own' (2007)
    Hosted the PBS series 'America Beyond the Color Line' (2004), 'African American Lives' (2006), 'African American Lives 2' (2008) and 'Looking for Lincoln' (2009)
    He is nicknamed 'Skip.'
    He is an advocate of affirmative action.
    At the 2 Live Crew obscenity trial, he called the band 'literary geniuses.'
    When police investigated a report of a break-in at his place and asked for an ID, he replied, 'Why, because I'm a black man in America?'
    He continued yelling at the police until he was arrested for disorderly conduct (July 16, 2009).
    He was the first African American to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.
    He discovered 'The Bondswoman's Narrative' by Hannah Crafts, the oldest known novel by a black American woman.
    He rejects the notion that only blacks can teach African-American literature, saying 'It's as ridiculous as if someone said I couldn't appreciate Shakespeare because I'm not Anglo-Saxon.'
    He was named one of Time magazine's 25 most influential people (1997).
    The disorderly conduct charges were dropped, with a Cambridge police spokesperson calling the incident 'regrettable and unfortunate.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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