Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (b. 1950)

African American scholar and literary critic. Born and raised in West Virginia, Gates was educated at Yale and Cambridge Universities. Now a professor at Harvard University, Gates balances his time between editing African American literature, writing literary criticism, and writing for general audiences. He has created a number of television documentaries, including “African American Lives” (2006), and his essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times. Gates’s many books include Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the “Racial” Self (1987); The Signifying Monkey (1988), winner of the National Book Award; his best-selling autobiography, Colored People (1994); Wonders of the African World (1999); and most recently, America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African Americans (2004). Gates is the general co-editor of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (2nd ed. 2004). See also aaas.fas.harvard.edu.