"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."
"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."Henry Louis Gates on Mark Twain
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."Henry Louis Gates on Henry Ford
"Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been."Henry Louis Gates on Mark Twain
"True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country."Henry Louis Gates on Kurt Vonnegut
"A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age."Henry Louis Gates on Robert Frost
"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."
"Very few, if any, first-generation black or white or Asian kids will pursue a Ph.D. They'll pursue the professions for economic security. Many will go to law school and/or business school."