Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University was selected as the winner of the 2023 James Dent Walker Award from Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. The James Dent Walker Award is the highest national award that can be bestowed by AAHGS upon a person who has exhibited distinguished accomplishments through a significant and measurable contribution to the research, documentation, and/or preservation of African American history.
Dr. Gates also serves as a trustee of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He rediscovered the earliest known African American novels and has published extensively on the recognition of African American literature as part of the Western canon. His partnership with PBS has resulted in much-needed documentaries on the lives of African Americans in the United States as well as Africans and African-ancestored persons in South America. He has hosted the extremely popular “Finding Your Roots” series on PBS since 2012.
From the 1990s and continuing today, Dr. Gates has contributed immensely to the research, documentation, and preservation of African American history and culture. His work has illuminated the quest for genealogical and historical research of African Americans and documented African and African Americans in the history of both Africa and America, and beyond.
Professor Gates joined the faculty at Harvard University in 1991 after teaching at Duke University, Cornell University, and Yale University. A native of West Virginia, Dr. Gates is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale University. He earned a Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England.