The Woodrow Wilson Foundation has named W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Director Henry Louis Gates Jr. the 2009 winner of the Frank E. Taplin Jr. Public Intellectual Award. Gates is also the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University.
In selecting recipients of the Taplin Award, the foundation solicits nominations from community and academic leaders who can attest to the impact of the nominee’s accomplishments on local, regional, or national levels.
No stranger to accolades, Gates is one of the best-known cultural critics today, and has been honored by the MacArthur Foundation and the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was named one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, to list but a few. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of “The Signifying Monkey,” Gates’ seminal and provocative work on African-American literature.