Henry Louis Gates Jr. on 500 Years of African American History

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The newest documentary by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., “The African Americans,” examines five centuries of African American history—from the first black conquistador to arrive in what's now America to the election of President Barack Obama.

The series explores the evolution of the African American people, as well as the cultural institutions, political strategies, and religious and social perspectives they developed against unimaginable odds.

Today we continue our conversation with the Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

Check out part one of our interview with Dr. Gates here. Below is our full interview with Dr. Gates.



Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer


T.J. Raphael

Comments [3]

Just from Detroit

John & Charles - What are you two talking about? It was a MURDER guys. Just because they found it to be a justifiable, doesn't mean it's not a killing. Gates is factually correct.

Zimmerman is still a child killer. Just as much as an aquitted OJ Simpson is a still a murderer.

On top of that, just because a prejudiced jury says it was justified, doesn't mean folks have to change their own opinion on the matter. Add one Af. Am. to that Zimmerman jury and it's a mistrial at the least. Go ahead read: http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/04/15/qje.qjs014.full

We don't agree! The whole court system treats black n brown ppl as less important and more guilty than white counterparts. Whether a victim or on trial. I could lay out all the stats and FACTS and examples on this but you'd be reading for years. Go explore.... (u can start with a reading of: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander if interested)

Now, may I follow each of your children around in the dark with a gun? That's okay right? Then if I take their life when he/she attacks me in self defense, and out of fear, that's okay too right? Put yourself in those shoes idiots.

Oct. 22 2013 11:46 PM
John Tanner from Metropolis, IL

Gates calling the Travon Martin incident "murder" was purposely inflamatory. Your host should have called him on that comment. So much for your objectivity.

Oct. 22 2013 03:20 PM

Dr. Gates made a pointed reference to "the murder of Trayvon Martin." In what world does Dr. Gates live, where the death of Trayvon Martin was a "murder"?

As we all know, the killing of Trayvon Martin resulted in the trial of an individual -- Geroge Zimmerman -- for second degree murder. It was an act of hysterical overcharging by a prosecution that no doubt felt pressured by grossly inappropriate comments from Gates' good friend, Barack Obama. Obama, as you will also no doubt recall, is the President of the United States and serves as the nation's Chief Executive and chief law enforcement officer.

Nothwithstanding the fact that the President prejudiced a nation of potential jurors with his statement that if he had a son, that sone might look like Trayvon, George Zimmerman's defense was presented to a jury and the jury acquitted him.

There was -- as a matter of fact an law -- no "murder" of Trayvon Martin.

Any casual fool off the street might get away with talking about a "murder" of Trayvon, but that is surely not how Skip (as his friend Barack Obama calls him) Gates thinks of himself. Dr. Gates is a tenured Harvard professor; a director of a "Center for African American Research"; a member of the academic elite (self-proclaimed) and (consequently) a frequent contributor to the nation's public television and public broadcasting networks. Just like today.

Where you just might think that words matter, and where facts ought to count.

But it may be that Gates' factual error was intentional. Just maybe, Skip Gates wanted the world to know that no matter what happened in that racist Florida courtroom, there was a murder and Skip Gates was going to let us know that it was MURDER.

All of which is not merely factual error, but a deep sort of hypocrisy on the part of Gates, who not long ago found himself on the wrong end of a pair of handcuffs and arrested for disturbing the peace. In the end, Gates got the sort of treatment under the law that he wanted and charges were dropped. Gates had no such empathy for George Zimmerman, another person of color accused of a crime. We talk about presuming the accused innocent, until proven guilty by a trial. Gates doesn't do that; Gates goes beyond civil discourse and seems to argue guilt AFTER a trial in which guilt could not be proven.

Perhaps Dr. Gates could be given an opportunity, in a six-part PBS series, to expand on his views as to a "murder" of Trayvon Martin, by George Zimmerman. That would make the process of suing Gates for libel a lot easier.

Oct. 22 2013 01:23 PM

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