Scholar and literary critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. will deliver the annual George E. Kent Lecture, titled “African American Lives: Genealogy, Genetics and Black History,” at 7:30 p.m. April 27 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.
The Organization of Black Students at the University of Chicago will host the event, which is free and open to the public.
Gates, the W.E.B. DuBois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, was the first African American to receive an Andrew W. Mellon fellowship in 1973, on the day after his graduation from Yale University. He also received a MacArthur “genius grant” in 1981, a George Polk Award for Social Commentary in 1993 and a National Humanities Medal in 1998. And in 1997, Time magazine named Gates on the list of “25 Most Influential Americans.”
Before he joined the Harvard faculty in 1991, Gates served as a professor at Yale, Duke and Cornell universities. Additionally, Gates was chair of Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies for more than a decade. During his career, Gates also has received 44 honorary degrees.
The Kent Lecture honors George Kent, the former UChicago professor who taught in English Language & Literature from 1970 until his death in 1982. Each year, the Organization of Black Students brings a prominent member of the African American community to campus to speak on relevant social issues. Past speakers have included Cornel West, Angela Davis, Nikki Giovanni and Gwendolyn Brooks. Gates previously delivered the Kent Lecture in 2007.
Doors will open at 7 p.m. Persons with disabilities should contact the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities at (773) 702-8787 for special accommodations.