Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | August 20, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—August 21, 2009: Mister Jefferson and The Trials of Phillis Wheatley

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

—   —   —

Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950 –) is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, and also the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.  He is popularly known as the host of the PBS films African American Lives, and as the author of Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man and Colored People: A Memoir.  He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1981.

This week’s text is his 2002 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture, “Mister Jefferson and The Trials of Phillis Wheatley”, which was expanded into his 2003 book, The Trials of Phillis Wheatley.

This lecture traces the changing views of Phillis Wheatley’s reputation as an African American author and compares it to the equally fluctuating views of Jefferson as a racist.  It is a measured and balanced analysis of the dangers in judging any person’s thoughts and sentiments about race and racism.

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event! You can find Gate’s text at this website:

http://www.neh.gov/whoweare/gates/lecture.html

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