"People are afraid, and when people are afraid, when their pie is shrinking, they look for somebody to hate. They look for somebody to blame. And a real leader speaks to anxiety and to fear and allays those fears, assuages anxiety."
"A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."Henry Louis Gates on John F. Kennedy
"Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."Henry Louis Gates on Audrey Hepburn
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."Henry Louis Gates on Thomas Paine
"We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict."Henry Louis Gates on Jim Morrison
"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it."Henry Louis Gates on Jiddu Krishnamurti
"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."