Campus & Community

Carl Sandburg Award honors Gates’ body of work

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Henry Louis Gates
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the recipient of the Carl Sandburg Award. (Staff file photo Justin Ide/Harvard News Office)

Henry Louis Gates Jr., chair of the Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, is the recipient of this year’s Carl Sandburg Award. Given annually by the Chicago Public Library (CPL), the award “honors a significant work or body of work that has enhanced the public’s awareness of the written word and reflects the CPL’s commitment to the freedom of all people to read, to learn, and to discover.”

Gates commented, “I am so pleased to accept this award on behalf of the field of African-American literature and criticism. To be recognized by a prize created in honor of Carl Sandburg, a truly great American poet who influenced African-American poets such as Langston Hughes, is deeply humbling and enormously gratifying.”

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Edith and Benjamin Geisinger Professor of History William C. Kirby said, “The Carl Sandburg Award fittingly honors the achievements of Professor Gates. Professor Gates has elevated scholarship in, and compelled national attention to, African and African-American literature, culture, and experience. I heartily congratulate our colleague on this happy recognition of his work.”

Recent recipients of the award include Robert Caro, Joyce Carol Oates, and Kurt Vonnegut.