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Distinguished Speaker is Harvard African American Lineage Expert

An expert on African American family lineage will give a presentation at 7:30 p.m. March 6 as part of the Distinguished Speakers Series at Oklahoma City University. The lecture is free to the public and will be held in the Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center at N.W. 27th Street and Florida Avenue.

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s presentation is titled “Finding Your Roots: A lively presentation on individual lineage and American History in which Prof. Gates addresses research, DNA analysis, and poignant family stories.”

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is editor-in-chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American studies and Africana studies.

Gates is the author of several works of literary criticism, including “Figures in Black: Words, Signs and the ‘Racial’ Self.” In 2002 he authenticated and published “The Bondwoman's Narrative”by Hannah Crafts, dating from the early 1850s and now considered one of the first novels written by an African American woman.

In 2006, Gates wrote and produced the PBS documentary “African American Lives,” the first documentary series to employ genealogy and science to provide an understanding of African American history. In 2007, the follow-up one-hour documentary “Oprah’s Roots: An African American Lives Special” aired on PBS. His current PBS special, “Finding Your Roots,” examines the shared history of Americans.

Gates earned his master’s degree and doctorate in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge, and his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University, where he was a Scholar of the House.

The venue doors for the OCU presentation will open at 6:30 p.m.  Free parking is available in the lots north, east and west of the Freede Center.

The presentation is co-sponsored by the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature. For more information call (405) 208-4956 or visit

Henry Louis Gates Jr