"America is the greatest nation ever founded. The ideals are the greatest ever espoused in human history, and we just need the country to live up to them. But what I worry about are the 1 million black men in the prison system."
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."Henry Louis Gates on Confucius
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew."Henry Louis Gates on Abraham Lincoln
"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history."Henry Louis Gates on Mahatma Gandhi
"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."Henry Louis Gates on Franklin D. Roosevelt
"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."Henry Louis Gates on Thomas Jefferson
"I first learned that there were black people living in some place called other than the United States in the western hemisphere when I was a very little boy, and my father told me that when he was a boy about my age, he wanted to be an Episcopal priest, because he so admired his priest, a black man from someplace called Haiti."
"Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice."
"It's important to debunk the myths of Africa being this benighted continent civilized only when white people arrived. In fact, Africans had been creators of culture for thousands of years before. These were very intelligent, subtle and sophisticated people, with organized societies and great art."
"We can revolutionize the attitude of inner city brown and black kids to learning. We need a civil rights movement within the African-American community."
"Patriotism is best exemplified through auto-critique. When you're willing to stand up within the group and say, 'It is wrong for Black people to be anti-Semitic,' or 'It is wrong for America to discriminate against persons of African descent and made them slaves and based its wealth upon free labor,' it's crucial to say that."