Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is most recently the author of Finding Oprah's Roots, Finding Your Own (Crown, 2007) and the host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed 2006 PBS series "African American Lives" and its follow-up, "Oprah's Roots."
Professor Gates is Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field of African American and Africana Studies. He is co-editor, with K. Anthony Appiah, of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. With Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, he is the co-editor of the biographical encyclopedia African American Lives (Oxford, 2004), and the online African American National Biography database.
Professor Gates is the author of several books, including The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (Oxford, 1988), winner of the 1989 American Book Award, and Colored People: A Memoir (Knopf, 1994). Professor Gates authenticated and published two landmark African American texts: Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black (1859), by Harriet Wilson, the first novel published by an African American woman; and The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, one of the first novels written by an African American woman. In 2006, he and Hollis Robbins co-edited The Annotated Uncle Tom's Cabin, edited with Hollis Robbins (W. W. Norton, 2006).
An influential cultural critic, Professor Gates has written for Time magazine, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. He is the editor of several anthologies, including The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (W.W. Norton, 1996). Professor Gates also produced and hosted two previous series for PBS, 1999's "Wonders of the African World" and 2004's "America Beyond the Color Line."
Professor Gates earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in English literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge. He received a B.A. in history, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973. The recipient of 48 honorary degrees and a 1981 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," Professor Gates was also named one of Time magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, one of the "100 Most Influential Black Americans" by Ebony in 2005, received a National Humanities Medal in 1998, and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Linda Heywood is a professor of African History and the History of the African Diaspora at Boston University. She published widely on the history of Angola and the African Diaspora. She is the co-author with John Thornton of the recent book, Central African, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of America (Cambridge University Press, July, 2007). She has served as a consultant for numerous museum exhibitions, including the Smithsonian Institution, Maritime Museum and Jamestown Museum. She served as a history consultant and appeared in the PBS series African American Lives (2006) and Finding Oprah's Roots (2007).
Fatimah Jackson, is an African American biologist and anthropologist. She is a professor of Applied Biological Anthropology at the University of Maryland and has been teaching there for over 15 years. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the "Distinguished Scholar Teacher Award" (University of Maryland, 1995).
John Thornton is professor of African and African American History at Boston University. He has published extensively on the history of Africa and the African Diaspora including Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, and more recently Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles and the Foundation of the Americas with Linda Heywood. He has served as a consultant for many public history projects including the Smithsonian Institution, the Maritime Museum, and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. He recently served as consultant for the series "African American Lives" on PBS.
David Eltis is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of History, Emory University. He has a Ph D from the University of Rochester, (1979). His research interests are the early modern Atlantic World, slavery, and migration - both coerced and free. He is the author of Economic Growth and The Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (New York, Oxford Univ. Press, 1987) which won the British Trevor Reese Memorial Prize, and The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2000), awarded the Frederick Douglass Prize, the John Ben Snow Prize, and the Wesley-Logan Prize. He is editor and contributor to Coerced and Free Migration: Global Perspectives (Stanford University Press, 2002), co-editor and contributor to a special issue of William and Mary Quarterly (2001), Routes to Slavery: Direction, Mortality and Ethnicity in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 1595-1867 (London, Frank Cass, 1997). He is also co-creator of The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A Database on CD-ROM (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). He is currently at work on a census of the Atlantic slave trade, a book on slave ship revolts, an analysis of the identity of captive Africans put on board slave ships, and is co-editing the Cambridge World History of Slavery.
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and African and African American Studies. M.A. Howard University; Ph.D. University of Rochester. Her research and teaching interests include the history of the black church as well as historical and theoretical perspectives on African American women. Professor Higginbotham is author of Righteous Discontent: The Women's Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920. (Harvard University Press, 1993), which has won book prizes from the American Historical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Association of Black Women Historians, and the Association for Research on Non-Profit and Voluntary Organizations. Her articles on African-American women's history cover such diverse themes as constructions of racial and gender identity, electoral politics, religion, and the intersection of theory and history. Her article, "African-American Women's History and the Metalanguage of Race," Signs (Winter 1992) won the Best Article prize of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians in 1993. She is currently completing a book on African-American women and citizenship.