Renowned scholar, historian, and educator Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., will serve as guest speaker for Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) 151st Founders’ Day on April 5, 2018. The event will be held at 2 p.m. in J.W. Seabrook Auditorium on the FSU campus.
During Founders’ Day, FSU’s Family of the Year will be honored. Also, there will be a tribute to the founders and E.E. Smith at the Founders’ Memorials. A time capsule, to be opened when the university turns 175 in the year 2043, will be buried. Following the tribute, items from the time capsule, buried when the university celebrated its 125th birthday in 1992, will be on display.
Professor Gates Jr. was born in Keyser, West Virginia. He excelled as a student, graduating from Yale University in 1973 with a degree in history. He continued his education at Clare College, which is part of the University of Cambridge in England. He finished his doctorate degree in 1979, making him the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the university.
In the 1980s, Professor Gates became known as a leading scholar of African-American literature, history, and culture. He built his reputation in part on his talents as a researcher. At the start of the decade, he began working on the Black Periodical Literature Project, which uncovered lost literary works published in 1800s. Professor Gates received a grant from the prestigious MacArthur Foundation in 1981, which helped support his scholarship in African-American literature. He had rediscovered what is believed to be the first novel published by an African-American in the United States. Gates republished the 1859 work by Harriet E. Wilson, entitled Our Nig, in 1983.
Professor Gates served an editor on several anthologies and collections of African-American literature and contributed to the field of literary theory with such works as Black Literature and Literary Theory (1984) and The Signifying Monkey: Towards a Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (1988). In 1991, he became the head of the African-American studies department at Harvard University. He is credited with transforming the school’s African American studies program. Professor Gates is now the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at the university.
Professor Gates has been involved in many interesting educational projects for television. He wrote and produced several documentaries: Wonders of the African World (2000), America Beyond the Color Line (2004) and African American Lives (2006). Gates has plans for more documentaries, including a documentary special on the heritage of talk show host Oprah Winfrey and a sequel to African American Lives.
Fayetteville State University is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. FSU offers degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral levels. With more than 6,300 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation.
For more information, call (910) 672-1474.