Skip Gates on Black History Month
Nowadays when people think Henry Louis Gates Jr., they think of the Beer Summit. But Gates is so much more than that—the Alphonse Fletcher University professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Editor and author of countless books, including the African American National Biography, Gates is also the editor in chief of TheRoot.com. In his eternal quest to answer the questions"What made America?" and"What makes us?" Gates has hosted a series of PBS specials (African American Lives,African American Lives 2) and the most recent Faces of America With Henry Louis Gates Jr., in which he studies the family histories of 12 famous Americans, including Stephen Colbert, Eva Longoria, and Meryl Streep. He took a few minutes to talk with NEWSWEEK about black history, Black History Month, and Faces of America.
Kelley: Tell me what you think of Black History Month.
Gates: I love Black History Month. But for me, every day is Black History Month, and I would like one day to see the need for Black History Month disappear because the contributions of our ancestors have become a fundamental part of the American-history curriculum....
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