Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has recently been named the recipient of three awards in recognition of his scholarship and for the cultural impact of “African American Lives,” the PBS series created and produced by Gates, New York’s Channel 13, and Kunhardt Productions. Since first airing in February 2006, “African American Lives” has struck a deep cultural chord, pushing African Americans and all Americans to search out their own identity and genealogy.
Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard, Gates was honored by Wired magazine with its 2007 Rave Award at an April 27 ceremony in San Francisco. Given annually, the Rave Awards honor individuals for their influence on technology, business, and culture. This year’s honorees include Arnold Schwarzenegger, J.K. Rowling, and Arianna Huffington.
Additionally, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism will honor “African American Lives” today (May 3) at its “Let’s Do It Better! Competition and Workshop.” Along with co-honoree Bryant Gumbel, Gates will be presented with the award during a presentation in New York. Founded in 1999 by the Ford Foundation, “Let’s Do It Better!” showcases exemplary journalistic coverage of race and ethnicity in America.
Lastly, on May 24 in New York, the National Arts Club will honor Gates with its Gold Medal for Lifetime Achievement in African and African American Scholarship. Founded in 1898 by The New York Times literary and art critic Charles de Kay, the National Arts Club fosters and promotes public interest in the arts.
“I have had a lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker, and the response to ‘African American Lives’ has been more than I could have ever imagined,” said Gates. “The study of African and African American culture has been my life’s work and I am truly honored to be receiving these awards,” Gates added.