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.
Top 10 Quotes by Henry Louis Gates
But you see, our society is still trapped in this binary, black/white logic and that has had some very positive implications for our generation. It's had some very negative ones as well and one of the negative ones is that it creates enormous identity problems for people who have one black ancestor and all white ancestors for example.
The truth is I would do my job for free! I love it every day. If you can possibly choose a vocation that's an avocation, a job that's really a hobby, then you'll be way ahead of the game. You should not pick an occupation because your think your parents want you to do it, or because you think it's the noble thing to do. You should only pick a job because it turns you on.