Life Upon These Shores: Gates on the "New Negro Movement"

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Henry Louis Gates Jr., professor at Harvard University, author of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008, and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, continues this month's series on African American history with a discussion about the "New Negro Movement" of the early 20th century.


Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Comments [11]

Paul I. Adujie from Elmont, NY

Gates in arguing against reparations, sought to make exceptions the general rule.

All through history, it is the case that in human conflicts and wars etc, there are traitors, collaborators and profiteers in every race, nation and continent. However, it is ridiculously absurd, for anyone with a scintilla of reason and logic, to seek to make traitors, collaborators and profiteers, the main story of any conflict or war.

It is illogical to say that Haliburton Inc and BlackWater Inc caused Iraq war, because it received no bid contracts and profited from the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is equally illogical to blame Ahmad Chalabi an Iraqi exile and opportunist, for the predetermined invasion and occupation of Iraq by Bush-Cheney administration.

Similarly, there are American citizens who have collaborated with Al Queida and Taliban in terrorism against America, but only an ignorant person and a complete fool, would believe that those American citizen collaborators whatever their excuse, share equal responsibility with Al Queda and the Taliban terrorism upon America, in design and implementations!John Walker Lindh, Jose Padilla etc, are not the source Al Queda and Taliban's strength.

An example is the fact that some Jews may have been collaborators and colluded with Nazis and other Jew haters. But how does that excuse Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany?

How do such roles played by collaborators and complicit Jews become the main story of the extermination of the Jews and Jewish Holocaust and reason to have denied reparations to the Jews? He engaged in his preachment with the zeal of a paid Holocaust denier and anti Semitic bigot!

And history also documents Africans American traitors who infiltrated the Civil Right Movement on behalf of the police, FBI and others who were opposed to equality for African Americans… these were nevertheless the exception to the rule.

But imagine anyone demeaning the Civil Rights Movement and the horrors and brutalities faced by catapulting and vaulting these exceptions to the rule betrayers and treacheries by some African Americans as if it were the main story of he Civil Rights Movement gains and losses?

Ending The Slavery Blame-Game By Henry Louis Gates, A Rejoinder

Dec. 09 2011 11:46 AM
Paul I. Adujie from Elmont, NY

Gates’ inane contribution to revisionists efforts at retelling of the horrors and brutalities of slave trade is shameful.

Gates writes about the slave trade as some sorts of friendly business transactions between willing seller and equally willing buyer, as would seller and buyer of pork barrels or barrels of sweet crude or commodities at the New York or Chicago Stock Exchanges; in which merchants of equal statuses seal deals with warm and endearing handshakes, with scheduled caviar and cocktails to follow.

Gates’ flimsy portrayals of Africans as conspiring, conniving and colluding collaborators, with those who came from thousands of miles to far away Africa, to kidnap, snatch and bundles and brutalize Africans into slavery, is an effort, which is worse than useless on the part of Gates.

Gates’ melodramatic lies failed to inform his readers of Oba Ovoramwen of Benin, a king of the Bini Kingdom who was dethroned and exiled outside of his domain, because he opposed Europeans horrors and brutalities and oppression in his kingdom.

And there were many others like Oba Ovaramwen and the Mau Mau, during slavery and colonialism, who opposed Europeans, and paid with their lives or were jailed by Europeans! Gates obviously have not read a single page about Belgian Congo and King Leopold?

Slavery just like its twin evil, colonialism, was inflicted upon Africans without regard to the lives, interests and aspirations of continental Africans. Case in point is the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 during which the African continent and peoples were portioned between Europeans nations or powers. First among the sins of the Berlin Conference was the fact that no African or African representatives were invited. Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy etc were the nations in attendance.

The bulk of the internecine crises on the African continent today, are a consequences of that original sin by Europeans, in which lumped Africans or separated Africans arbitrarily, without care to similarities and or differences of the peoples of the continent, but instead, the emphasis was the interests and suzerainty of Europeans nations.

Europeans sphere of interests, national and strategic, from raw materials to navigation “rights” throughout the African continent.

America and European nations repeated and replicated this attitude of utter disregard and contempt for African during the Cold War, during which African nations were used and exploited in the chasms and schisms between Western nations on the one hand and Soviet Union East Europeans on the other.

Ending The Slavery Blame-Game By Henry Louis Gates, A Rejoinder

Dec. 09 2011 11:43 AM
rose-ellen from jackson hts.

Gates is an anti-arab bigot. On the pbs documentary of him in africa-he raises his hands and looks up at the sky and exclaims in exasperation:arabs ",arabs, they all look up to arabs. next they're gonna say the sun comes up in the sky because of arabs". This because in east africa the natives there all claimed descent from arabs and proudly did so. Gates was offended-didn't God tell these people they should be like americans and denigrate them-how dare they have a different narative then us about arabs.. He showed himself to be one ignorant ugly american and too filled with pomposity to ever reconize his hubris.

Dec. 08 2011 03:56 PM
VinnyC from nyc

Brian, you may have to schedule an entire show for Dr. Gates on this subject. He is what my mother would call a 'long meter'-someone capable of talking effortlessly for long periods of time. Very interesting and informative conversations. Obviously, persons interested in these matters would do well to get a copy of his book. It is unique to hear this topic being discussed on the radio--where else could the general public get snippets of an historical record that has gone unnoticed for so long. Maybe more than a month is needed.

Dec. 08 2011 12:23 PM
Lee from NYC

Sorry, "Greg"-- you're not fooling anyone.

Dec. 08 2011 11:23 AM
Lee from NYC

Sorry, "Greg"-- you're not fooling anyone.

Dec. 08 2011 11:21 AM
Greg from South Orange

Not at all! I am not an artist in the show, but what is wrong with bringing to the attention of an audience interested in this topic, information on an exhibition that seems relevant to the conversation, and the discourse on shifting or emergent black culture? Do you have an axe to grind?

Dec. 08 2011 11:14 AM
Lee from NYC

Greg from South Orange -- thanks for shamelessly exploiting this context to promote that show. Do you belong to the Shephard Fairey school of shameless self-promo?

Dec. 08 2011 11:07 AM
Greg from South Orange

I am enjoying this conversation and thought that I should bring to the attention of Henry Louis Gates Jr., Brian Lehrer and the listeners interested in this topic that there is a great curated exhibition entitled, "DandyLion" which is currently showing at Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art in Newark, NJ. It examines a shift in how certain segments of upwardly mobile male black culture chooses to re-image and project their identity in society See show description below:

October 20th, 2011 - December 22nd, 2011
Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity;

Aljira is pleased to present Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity, a photography exhibition of works created by ten artists exploring the phenomenon of Black Dandyism throughout the African Diaspora. Artists include Hanif Abdur-Rahim, Kwesi Abbensetts, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Kia Chenelle, Bouba Dola, Russell K. Frederick, Delphine Fawundu-Buford, Cassi Amanda Gibson, Akintola Hanif, Jamala Johns, Dexter Jones, Phillis Kwentoh, Antony Kaminju, Caroline Kaminju, Lafotographeuse, Ray Llanos, Jati Lindsay, Devin Mays, Terence Nance, Brandi Pettijohn, and Nyugen Smith.

A refreshing exhibition, guest curated by Shantrelle P. Lewis, Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity takes a glance at urban Black Dandies who like their continental African counterparts, Le Sapeur of Brazzaville, Congo, embody style, sophistication and a commitment to culture via dramatized masculinity. This exhibition is an examination and approbation of the contemporary dandy in Diasporan settings. Dandy Lion is an homage to the fashionable urban gentleman – an African Diasporan man of style, an urban connoisseur of sophistication and a contemporary man of extraordinary swagger.

Dec. 08 2011 11:03 AM
Alex from Manhattan

I know and respect Dr. Gates' academic work very well. However, something was not translating clearly from the radio platform in today's segment. Why does Dr. Gates sound so oddly merry and blithe at every turn, however serious and disturbing some of the content is? Even knowing that this is Gates from the get-go, and knowing his work so well, I found the tone unsettling and can imagine that someone tuning in mid-show might feel even more confused and concerned. Maybe this is partly a function of Brian's being under the weather (did I parse this correctly?) and so unable to engage in the kind of back-and-forth that usually allows more modulation of tone? There was some kind of disconnect at any rate--it did not seem to compute with Dr. Gates that the show was ending and he needed to stop talking. Whole thing was a bit strange.

Dec. 08 2011 11:01 AM
karen andrews from nj

please tell your guest that EVERYONE DOES not know know about the buffalo wars. i have never heard of them.

Dec. 08 2011 10:57 AM

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