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Image shows an African-America face in the background. The words "The Legacy of Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow" are written on the image. A photo of Henry Louis Gates is in the lower left corner with details of the lecture at right, which are also in the text of this story.Henry Louis Gates Jr. will deliver the Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Lecture, “The Legacy of Reconstruction and the Rise of Jim Crow” on Feb. 9 at 5:30 p.m. The free webinar will feature the Emmy Award-winning literary scholar and filmmaker in conversation with Karla Slocum, director of UNC’s Institute of African American Research. The conversation will include a 12-minute film clip from “Reconstruction: America after the Civil War” and an audience Q&A. Registration is required.


Henry Louis Gates Jr. headshot
Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, Gates has authored or co-authored 25 books and created 23 documentary films, including the popular PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots. His latest series, The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, will air on PBS in February 2021.

His recent book, Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow (Penguin Random House, 2019), has been described as “a profound new rendering of the struggle by African-Americans for equality after the Civil War and the violent counter-revolution that resubjugated them.”

The recipient of more than 50 honorary degrees and numerous prizes, Gates was a member of the first class awarded “genius grants” by the MacArthur Foundation in 1981, and in 1998, he became the first African American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time’s 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999. He earned his B.A. in English Language and Literature, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973, and his M.A. and English Literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge in 1979.

Karla Slocum headshot
Karla Slocum

Slocum is the Thomas Willis Lambeth Distinguished Chair of Public Policy, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Institute of African American Research at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Slocum specializes in studies of place, race, history and black rurality. She is the author of Free Trade and Freedom: Neoliberalism, Place and Nation in the Caribbean (University of Michigan Press, 2006) and Black Towns, Black Futures: The Enduring Allure of a Black Place in the American West (UNC Press, 2019). Most recently, Slocum is the co-creator of #TulsaSyllabus, a resource guide on the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and she is pursuing an interdisciplinary project, Mapping Black Towns, to digitally visualize the story of U.S. Black settlements.

The Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professorship is one of the highest honors bestowed by the College of Arts & Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill to distinguished public leaders. Established in 1989, it brings to campus renowned speakers from a variety of fields, including government, public policy, international affairs and the arts and sciences.

The Frey Foundation was established in 1974 by Edward J. and Frances Frey of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their son, alumnus David Gardner Frey, BA ’64, JD ’67, is the former chairman of the foundation and a longtime supporter of the College.

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