"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."
"True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist."Henry Louis Gates on Albert Einstein
"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced."Henry Louis Gates on Vincent Van Gogh
"The highest art is always the most religious, and the greatest artist is always a devout person."Henry Louis Gates on Abraham Lincoln
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."Henry Louis Gates on Aristotle
"A work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament."Henry Louis Gates on Oscar Wilde
"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."
"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."