Genealogy, Genetics and African American History


Cooper Union

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher, Jr. University Professor at Harvard University and founding director of The Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. His most recent project is the critically acclaimed PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced and hosted along with co-authoring the series' companion book with historian Donald Yacovone. Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of, a daily online magazine focusing on issues of interest to the African American community.

Professor Gates also is the author of several works of literary criticism and has edited, co-edited, rediscovered or championed dozens of works of African American fiction, many now considered to be canonical works including, most recently, Solomon Northup's 12 Years a Slave. Professor Gates has received 51 honorary degrees and the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," and a National Humanities Medal. He has been named one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2006, he was inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution after tracing his lineage back to John Redman, a Free Negro who fought in the Revolutionary War.

The Benjamin Menschel Distinguished Lectureship is made possible through the generosity of the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation. Now in its thirteenth year, this highly regarded lecture series has provided a public platform for some of the most renowned scientists and prominent intellectuals of our time.

This free event is open to the public.

The Cooper Union - The Great Hall
7 East 7th Street (between 3rd and 4th Avenues)