I first learned that there were black people living in some place called other than the United States in the western hemisphere when I was a very little boy, and my father told me that when he was a boy about my age, he wanted to be an Episcopal priest, because he so admired his priest, a black man from someplace called Haiti.

-Henry Louis Gates
Henry Louis Gates

People are afraid, and when people are afraid, when their pie is shrinking, they look for somebody to hate. They look for somebody to blame. And a real leader speaks to anxiety and to fear and allays those fears, assuages anxiety.

Henry Louis Gates
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.
Henry Louis Gates

I want to be a figure for prison reform. I think that the criminal justice system is rotten.

Henry Louis Gates
Suffering does not necessarily ennoble you.
Henry Louis Gates

Remember, I have a Ph.D. in English literature.

Henry Louis Gates
My goal is to get everybody in America to do their family tree.
Henry Louis Gates

Ending the slave trade was contrary to British economic interests. For all its limitations and hypocrisies - British slavery itself, of course, still continued to exist - I still think it was a great moment in human history.

Henry Louis Gates
You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.
Henry Louis Gates

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,' it's crucial to say that.

Henry Louis Gates
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.