Henry Louis Gates Jr

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Affleck: I Was 'Embarrassed' by Slave-Owning Ancestor

Says he's sorry, his story will add to discussion of slavery's legacy

(Newser) - Ben Affleck has had a change of heart since successfully asking PBS to omit mention of a slave-owning ancestor from an episode of Finding Your Roots. Affleck says he was "embarrassed" by the uncovered relative, NBC News reports. "I didn't want any television show about my family... More »

Email: Affleck Told PBS to Hide Slave-Owning Relative

And the pressure appeared to work on 'Finding Your Roots'

(Newser) - An email exchange in the newly published database of hacked Sony documents looks to be embarrassing for Ben Affleck and PBS. Affleck demanded that the show Finding Your Roots withhold the nugget that he had a slave-owning ancestor, reports the Boston Globe . The pressure appeared to be successful, because when... More »

Female Slave Who Penned 1850s Novel Identified

Professor says Hannah Bond wrote 'The Bondwoman's Narrative'

(Newser) - A long-running literary mystery may have been solved: The Bondwoman's Narrative was published to much acclaim in 2002, but it was no modern work—the novel was believed to have been written in the 1850s by a female slave using the pseudonym Hannah Crafts. But who that author truly... More »

'6 Degrees' Kevin Bacon Learns Wife Is ... His Cousin

Actress Kyra Sedgwick was initially horrified

(Newser) - Kevin Bacon's wife says she knew it all along. Actress Kyra Sedgwick and her Hollywood-star husband were filmed for the PBS show Finding Your Roots, which traces family backgrounds, and learned that they're actually cousins—albeit ninth cousins, the Independent reports. Sedgwick looked mortified at first: "See,... More »

Don't Forget: Women Made 'Red Tails' Possible

Skip Gates on how activist, pilot, first lady made Tuskegee Airmen possible

(Newser) - George Lucas' Red Tails is a "very important film," reminding us of the "often overlooked role of African Americans in World War II," Henry Louis "Skip" Gates writes in the Root . But what you sadly won't see in the movie are the three women... More »

Gates Donates 'Beer Summit' Handcuffs to Smithsonian

Museum on black history now has them

(Newser) - The "beer summit" is now a little piece of American history. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has donated the handcuffs used to arrest him to the new museum on black history at the Smithsonian. Last summer's arrest set off a racial brouhaha that led to the so-called summit... More »

Politics' Silliest Moments of '09

From Dancin' DeLay to Roberts' inaugural flub, 'twas a weird year

(Newser) - Politics isn’t always a deadly serious game of statesmanship. Sometimes it’s goofy. Politico recalls the most bizarre moments of 2009:
  • Barack Obama sworn in—twice: Obama joked that they’d done it because “we decided it was so much fun.”
  • Sarah Palin resigns: Even her aides
... More »

Prof. Gates, Cop Crowley Have Another Round

Pair at center of racial incident spotted at Cambridge bar

(Newser) - The black college professor and the white cop at the center of a racial firestorm this summer, and who later famously had beers on the White House, were spotted last night having a round at a bar in Cambridge, Mass. Henry Louis Gates and Sgt. James Crowley chatted over suds... More »

With Race in Play, Obama's White Support Softens

Poll numbers plummeted amid Sotomayor, Gates controversies

(Newser) - President Obama’s downward opinion-poll trajectory among whites seems to be linked to the “blackening” of his image, writes Joan Walsh in Salon. It accelerated during two racially charged moments this summer: Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court, marked with debate over her “wise Latina” comment,... More »

'Post-Racial' Proclamations Fizzle Fast

Gates incident, rise of birthers indicate issue's persistence

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s election was supposed to be a healing moment, proof that we’re in a post-racial America. “Didn’t last very long,” writes Roger Simon of Politico. Today America seems as racially divided as ever. Exhibit A: the birthers, who say Obama’s “an alien... More »

Another Harvard Prof Accuses Police of Racism

(Newser) - Another black member of Harvard's faculty has accused the Cambridge Police Department of racism, the Boston Globe reports. S. Allen Counter, a Harvard Medical School professor, was arrested outside his home in 2006 on assault and battery charges. “I was polite, and yet police lied and said I was... More »

Cop Suspended for Gates Slur Sues Over Civil Rights

(Newser) - The Boston police officer suspended for referring to Henry Louis Gates as a “banana-eating jungle monkey” is suing the city and the department for violating his civil rights, the Globe reports. The BPD, police commissioner, and mayor are “conspiring to intentionally inflict emotional distress” and interfering with Justin... More »

Gates: I Can Joke About Arrest Now

Harvard prof kidded Cambridge cop at White House

(Newser) - A black Harvard scholar said today he has been able to joke about his arrest by a white police officer that led to a national debate on race, despite receiving death threats and bomb threats. In his first public appearance since meeting with Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley at the... More »

Beck, Dobbs Fear the Rise of Minorities: Rich

White elites too often succumb to 'Village People populism'

(Newser) - A nation bored by dreary, knotty debates about health care found relief in another National Conversation on Race. “This one,” as Frank Rich writes in the New York Times of last week’s ballyhooed Beer Summit, “ended with a burp,” but the hangover could last well... More »

African-Americans Must Get Angry About Racial Profiling

(Newser) - Henry Louis Gates and Barack Obama have been “very publicly slapped down for speaking up and speaking out about police misbehavior,” but African-Americans “need to roar out their anger at such treatment,” Bob Herbert writes in the New York Times. Gates, not the officer who arrested... More »

Gates Sends Flowers to 911 Caller

Bouquet, note an 'expression of gratitude' to neighbor

(Newser) - The Cambridge woman whose 911 call sparked a national uproar over racial profiling received flowers and a note from her neighbor, Henry Louis Gates, yesterday, the Boston Herald reports. It was "an expression of gratitude," her lawyer says. Lucia Whalen, who never mentioned race when she called... More »

Lighten Up on Presidential Gaffes

Media blowing up slips is harming political discourse: Kinsley

(Newser) - Saying the Cambridge police acted "stupidly" wasn't Barack Obama's first or even worst gaffe; as president-elect he mused about Nancy Reagan séances, and he still hasn't lived down his awful joke on Jay Leno. But gaffes are okay, writes Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post—we want a... More »

Gates: 'Thank God' for Cops

But don't forget about racial profiling

(Newser) - The beer meeting at the White House has come and gone, but Henry Louis Gates offers a postscript: "I thank God that I live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day," he writes in the Root, where he... More »

Beer Summit Is Ho-Hum; Gates, Crowley to Talk Again

(Newser) - Turns out the president was right: the beer summit was pretty boring. In fact, it wasn't even the first time Skip Gates and Officer Crowley had gotten together after the arrest. "Even before we sat down for the beer, I learned that the two gentlemen spent some time together... More »

It's Beer Time at White House

(Newser) - It's happy hour at the White House. President Obama, Joe Biden, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and James Crowley are clinking beer glasses in the White House Rose Garden, but alas, the media isn't invited to listen in. Earlier, the president sought to tamp down expectations, noting that he's "fascinated... More »

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