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[AL] Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Speak in Selma


SELMA, AL, January 21, 2008 - Preeminent historian, writer, critic, and television producer and host Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will speak at the Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society's (BBAAGHS) 2nd Annual Black Belt African American Genealogy Conference and Family History Fair Awards Banquet in historic Selma, Alabama. The Awards Banquet will be held at Concordia University in Selma on February 15, 2008 from 7:00 pm - 11:00 pm. Cost for the banquet is $60.00 for non-members, $48.00 for BBAAGHS members. Seating is limited to 350 people.

Speaker Profile

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is most recently the author of Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own (Crown, 2007) and the host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed PBS series "African American Lives", "Oprah's Roots" and "African American Lives 2" scheduled to air in February 2008. Among others, "African American Lives 2" will profile two Black Belt celebrities, radio personality Tom Joyner who has roots in Wilcox County and Linda Johnson Rice whose family traces their ancestry to Selma and Dallas County.

Dr. Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American and Africana Studies. He is co-editor, with K. Anthony Appiah, of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. With Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, he is the co-editor of the biographical encyclopedia African American Lives (Oxford, 2004), and the online African American National Biography Database.

Dr. Gates is the author of several books, including The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (Oxford, 1988), winner of the 1989 American Book Award, and Colored People: A Memoir (Knopf, 1994). Professor Gates authenticated and published two landmark African American texts: Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859), by Harriet Wilson, the first novel published by an African American woman; and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, one of the first novels written by an African American woman. In 2006, he and Hollis Robbins co-edited The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin, edited with Hollis Robbins (W. W. Norton, 2006).

An influential cultural critic, Dr. Gates has written for Time magazine, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He is the editor of several anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (W.W. Norton, 1996). Dr. Gates also produced and hosted two previous series for PBS, 1999's "Wonders of the African World" and 2004's "America Beyond the Color Line."

Dr. Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He received a B.A. in history, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973. The recipient of 48 honorary degrees and a 1981 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," Dr. Gates was also named one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, one of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans" by Ebony in 2005, received a National Humanities Medal in 1998, and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. .

Awards Banquet Honorees

Genealogy Awards: Gwendolyn M. Holland of Chicago, IL, Dallas and Wilcox County researcher, and Doll Hargrove of Philadelphia, PA, Macon County researcher and owner of Doll's Genealogy Site,

History Awards: Dr. Richard Bailey of Birmingham, AL, author of They Too Call Alabama Home and Neither Carpetbaggers Nor Scalawags, and Jeanette S. McCall of Prairie Bluff, AL, author of The First and Last Bell: A Story of Six Missions for Blacks in Wilcox County, Alabama.

Preservation Awards: Louretta C. Wimberly of Selma, AL, founder of the Black Heritage Council, Alabama Historical Commission, and Shiloh Community Restoration Project headquartered in Notasulga, AL,, Elizabeth Ware Sims, President.

Cemetery Preservation Awards: Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance headquartered in Montgomery, AL, Sherry Johnston, President, and Old Cahawba Slave Cemetery in Cahaba, AL, Linda Derry, Site Director.

Distinguished Service Awards: Lorena Joyce Nicoll and Martha Phyllis Armstrong, both of Montgomery, AL.

Other Conference Event Highlights

The conference and family history fair will be held Friday and Saturday, February 15 - 16, 2008 from 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Events include workshops, guest speakers, exhibits, vendors, book signings and other events at the Larry D. Striplin Performing Arts Center, Concordia College, Selma-Dallas County Public Library and other locations in Selma.

Among other speakers, Frazine K. Taylor, head of the Ready Reference Section of the Alabama Department of Archives and History (ADAH) will conduct workshops on using African American resources at ADAH and finding slave ancestors; Amos J. Wright, Associate Professor and Director, Section on the History of Anesthesia, Department of Anesthesiology Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham, will give a talk on "Early African American Physicians in the Alabama Black Belt"; and B.J. Smothers, BBAAGHS President and Site Administrator for, will talk about researching genealogy on the internet and using DNA in genealogy research. David Bice, owner of Heritage Publishing Consultants of Clanton, AL will announce the Alabama African American Heritage Book series, the only project of its kind in the United States.

The two-day conference registration fee is $75.00 for non-members, $60.00 for BBAAGHS members. While the conference is open to anyone, the event should be of particular interest to those living in, or with ancestry in, the twelve counties of Alabama's Black Belt Region - Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox.

For Further Information

To register, purchase banquet tickets, advertise in the conference program, and for more information about the conference and speakers, please consult the BBAAGHS website: or call BBAAGHS President B.J. Smothers at 334-877-4846 or 404-273-6965 . For more information about BBAAGHS, see the website:

Contact Information:
B.J. Smothers, President
Black Belt African American Genealogical and Historical Society, Inc. (BBAAGHS)
Tel: 334-877-4846 or 404-273-6965 (mobile)


Messages In This Thread

[AL] Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Speak in Selma
Re: [AL] Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Speak in Selma

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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