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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. on "Genealogy, Genetics and African American History"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014, 6:30 - 8pm

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Menschel Lecture Tout

The 13th Annual Benjamin Menschel Distinguished Lecture will be "Genealogy, Genetics and African American History," delivered by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The lecture is free and open to the public.

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.

Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.