Patriotism is best exemplified through auto-critique. When you're willing to stand up within the group and say, 'It is wrong for Black people to be anti-Semitic,' or 'It is wrong for America to discriminate against persons of African descent and made them slaves and based its wealth upon free labor,
My mom, God rest her soul - she liked nicknames. In the womb she named me Skip. There was another black guy in Piedmont, W.Va., and his name was Skip. They called him Big Skip, and I was Little Skip.
Dr. King's Nobel Prize had a more powerful transforming effect on him than I think he realized at the time.
One principle I've been fighting for that doesn't endear me to a lot of people is that black people can be just as complicated and screwed up as white people. Our motives can be just as base and violent. Suffering does not necessarily ennoble you.
I rebel at the notion that I can't be part of other groups, that I can't construct identities through elective affinity, that race must be the most important thing about me. Is that what I want on my gravestone: Here lies an African American?
I believe in the law. I think we have a great system of justice. But I do think that system of justice has been corrupted by racism and classism. I think it's difficult for 'poor people' - poor white people, brown people - to be treated fairly before the law in the same way that upper-class people a
The bottom line is that Wanda Sykes has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched.
Well, certainly one of the ironies of the success of affirmative action is that the middle class within the black community no longer lives within 'black community' by and large.
That's what I mean by being bilingual: comfortable in your skin, comfortable with all parts of who you are.
I want to get into the educational DNA of American culture. I want 10 percent of the common culture, more or less, to be black.
What's fascinated me from the time I was a little kid was the way we construct our lives through stories.
My family and our neighbors and friends thought of Africa and its Africans as extensions of the stereotyped characters that we saw in movies and on television in films such as 'Tarzan' and in programs such as 'Ramar of the Jungle' and 'Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.'
The Right insists that anyone can escape poverty by working hard but that is simply not the case.
I think literacy is everything.
I thought, "why don't we be innovative and create something nobody had ever done before?" It was a huge hit and we immediately did a sequel with Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman, Tina Turner and Maya Angelou.
Because Lincoln is so closely identified with what it is to be American, everyone wants to claim him, to rewrite his story to satisfy their own particular needs.
Very few Black people ever embraced back to Africa movements, and very few actually, a tiny number actually went back to Africa. They said, "We are going to make America live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States." They produced one of the worl
Let's face it - think of Africa, and the first images that come to mind are of war, poverty, famine and flies. How many of us really know anything at all about the truly great ancient African civilizations, which in their day, were just as splendid and glorious as any on the face of the earth?
Remember, I have a Ph.D. in English literature.
I don't think the riots derailed the civil rights movement. Henry Louis G
I have no plans to slow down.
Wherever you go in the history of America, there have been Black people making contributions, but their contributions have been obscured, lost, buried.
My brother and I had a really privileged relationship with my parents... They treated us like adults.
Diversity doesn't mean black and white only. Henry Louis Gate
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.
No one thinks of Mexico and Peru as black. But Mexico and Peru together got 700,000 Africans in the slave trade. The coast of Acapulco was a black city in the 1870s. And the Veracruz Coast on the gulf of Mexico and the Costa Chica, south of Acapulco are traditional black lands.
Cuba is like going to a whole other planet. It's so different but it's so similar to the United States, to Miami. It's like a doppelgaenger. It's the mirror image. And I have no doubt, that once Cuba becomes democratic, that it will be the favorite tourist destination for Americans.
We have to stop making excuses. One of the things that I'm careful to show is the horrendous effects of institutional and structural racism, but in the end, you can't wait for white man or a Black man to come riding in on a white horse to save you. We have to save ourselves, and that's the lesson of
I want to be black, to know black, to luxuriate in whatever I might be calling blackness at any particular time, but to do so in order to come out on the other side, to experience a humanity that is neither colorless nor reducible to color.
I got a letter from this lady of Russian and Jewish descent. She asked me if I was a racist because I didn't do any White people. [laughter] I was shocked, because my mandate is to do Black studies. It would have never occurred to me if this lady hadn't written this letter. We decided we were going