You notice patterns. White guests often are mortified – that word again – when they learn their ancestors owned slaves. But I’ve never had a black guest who was upset to learn about white ancestry that probably involved forced sexual relations.
You can find virtually everybody black back as far as the 1870 census. Why 1870? That's when the ex-slaves first have surnames. But if you find your great-great-grandfather in 1870 and it says he's 50, that means he was born in 1820 and you're back to 1820 already. For an American that's pretty damned good, you know?
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Comments on: "Henry Louis Gates Jr. Quotes: You can find virtually everybody black back as far as the 1870 census...."
You have a diasporic black world, and the only way to put it back together again is symbolic. It’s like Humpty Dumpty. Whoever could edit the ‘Encyclopedia Africana’ would provide symbolic order to the fragments created over the past 500 years. That is a major contribution.
You can say I had a severe case of ‘Roots’ envy. I wanted to be like Alex Haley, and I wanted to be able to… do my family tree back to the slave ship and then reverse the Middle Passage, as I like to put it, and find the tribe or ethnic group that I was from in Africa.
|Birth:||16th September, 1950|
|Profession:||Author, Critic, Editor, Historian, Professor, Television Presenter|
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. was born in Keyser, West Virginia, USA. He is an American literary critic, author, editor, professor, historian, and television presenter. He earned his BA degree in history at Yale University in 1973. He earned his PhD in English literature from Clare College, Cambridge University in 1979. He currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. In addition to producing and hosting previous series on the history and genealogy of prominent American figures, since 2012 Gates has been host for three seasons of the series Finding Your Roots on PBS. He has written several books include: The Signifying Monkey, Loose canons, Colored People: A Memoir, The Future of the Race, Wonders of the African world, Life Upon These Shores, and Black in Latin America.
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