African American Lives
Analyzing the Evidence
The Science and the Investigators
Who am I? A Genealogy Guide
Sharing Stories
For Educators
About the Series

About the Series
Intro Episode Descriptions About the Filmmakers Broadcast Dates Credits
Series Host, Executive Producer

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, as well as director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research.

Professor Gates is co-editor, with K. Anthony Appiah, of the encyclopedia ENCARTA AFRICANA (1999), published on CD-ROM by Microsoft and in book form by Basic Civitas Books under the title AFRICANA: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. He is the author of WONDERS OF THE AFRICAN WORLD (1999), the companion book to the six-hour PBS television series of the same name.

In addition, Professor Gates is the author of several works of literary criticism, including FIGURES IN BLACK: WORDS, SIGNS AND THE "RACIAL" SELF (Oxford University Press, 1987); THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY: A THEORY OF AFRO-AMERICAN LITERARY CRITICISM (Oxford, 1988), winner of the 1989 American Book Award; and LOOSE CANONS: NOTES ON THE CULTURE WARS (Oxford, 1992). He is the author of COLORED PEOPLE: A MEMOIR (Knopf, 1994), which traces his childhood experiences in a small West Virginia town in the 1950s and 1960s; THE FUTURE OF THE RACE (Knopf, 1996), co-authored with Cornel West; and THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT A BLACK MAN (Random House, 1997).

An influential cultural critic, Professor Gates' publications include a 1994 cover story for TIME magazine on the new black Renaissance in art, as well as numerous articles for THE NEW YORKER. In addition, he has edited several anthologies, including THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN LITERATURE (W.W. Norton, 1996), and THE OXFORD-SCHOMBURG LIBRARY OF NINETEENTH CENTURY BLACK WOMEN WRITERS (Oxford, 1991), and is the co-editor of TRANSITION magazine. Professor Gates has 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 English Language and Literature, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973. Before joining the faculty of Harvard in 1991, he taught at Yale, Cornell and Duke Universities. Professor Gates has received more than 40 honorary degrees, as well as a 1981 MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award," the 1993 George Polk Award for Social Commentary, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Award in 1994, and the Golden Plate Achievement Award in 1995. In addition, Professor Gates was named one of TIME magazine's "25 Most Influential Americans" in 1997, one of EBONY magazine's "100 Most Influential Black Americans" in 2005, received a National Humanities Medal in 1998, and in 1999 was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Executive Producer

William R. Grant is director of Science, Natural History and Features programming for Thirteen/WNET New York. Mr. Grant joined Thirteen in 1995 after 12 years at WGBH in Boston, where he was managing editor of FRONTLINE and executive editor of NOVA. He also served as executive producer of both LIVING AGAINST THE ODDS and MADE IN AMERICA? At Thirteen, Mr. Grant has served as executive producer of SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, THE RISE AND FALL OF JIM CROW, INNOVATION, GOING PLACES, AMERICA ON WHEELS, SAVAGE SKIES, SAVAGE EARTH, KNIFE TO THE HEART, STEPHEN HAWKING'S UNIVERSE, ON THE TRAIL OF MARK TWAIN, MANDATE, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, and ECHOES FROM THE PAST, among others. He was executive-in-charge of WARSHIP. Previously, Mr. Grant was a reporter and editor at THE DETROIT FREE PRESS and THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, where his work won numerous awards. He began his journalism career while in high school in Kentucky, at THE WINCHESTER SUN, and also worked at THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL and THE LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER. From 1979-80, Mr. Grant was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. Programs under his supervision have won 10 national News and Documentary Awards and six George Foster Peabody Awards.

Executive Producer

Peter Kunhardt is a 10-year veteran of ABC News. In 1987 he formed Kunhardt Productions in order to work more closely with both his father and brother. In 1988, he won his third national Emmy Award for JFK: IN HIS OWN WORDS on HBO. Mr. Kunhardt is co-author of LINCOLN: AN ILLUSTRATED BIOGRAPHY, and served as producer and director of the ABC miniseries LINCOLN, the Discovery Channel documentary BARNUM and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT for PBS. During the past 18 years he has overseen more than 120 hours of programming for PBS, the networks and cable.

Senior Producer

Graham Judd is a New York-based filmmaker who for the last 20 years has specialized in producing ambitious and popular history and current affairs documentaries. Mr. Judd began his career as a staff producer with the BBC, for whom he produced and directed many high-profile television projects, including HEART OF THE MATTER, a multi-award-winning series exploring ethical issues arising from current affairs. In 2001, Mr. Judd moved to the United States to produce the critically acclaimed MUSLIMS, a two-hour Frontline special investigating the global resurgence of Islam through stories of individual Muslims around the world. Since then, documentaries he has created and supervised have aired not only on PBS, but also on ABC, Discovery Channel and The History Channel. In 2004, Mr. Judd served as series producer for the prime-time PBS history series, HISTORY DETECTIVES.

Supervising Producer

Leslie D. Farrell is the founder of Feral Entertainment, Inc., and has produced, directed and written award-winning programs for more than 15 years. Ms. Farrell's television programs have aired on HBO, PBS, several commercial networks and cable outlets in the U.S. and Europe. Recently, Ms. Farrell produced, directed and wrote the final episode for the critically acclaimed PBS series SLAVERY AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA, and produced a six-part dramatic miniseries directed by Spike Lee, titled MIRACLE'S BOYS, for MTV's network targeting adolescents, The N. Ms. Farrell has received numerous awards, including an Emmy for the HBO films SPORTS ON THE SILVER SCREEN and a Peabody for JOURNEY OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN ATHLETE. In addition, Ms. Farrell has developed, created and supervised the production of a range of documentary and entertainment television series, including VICE and SEX2K for MTV, JOURNEYS IN BLACK for BET, and BRAVO PROFILES for Bravo.

Supervising Producer

Dyllan McGee joined Kunhardt Productions in 1993, where she is Senior Producer for all documentaries and educational programming. Past projects Ms. McGee has worked on include FREEDOM: A HISTORY OF US, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT and INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE for PBS; ETERNAL EGYPT for The History Channel; and THE KENNEDY TAPES REVEALED for Bravo. In addition, Ms. McGee serves as the supervising producer for Picture History, an online resource for 19th and 20th-century photography. Ms. McGee is a Trustee of the Taft School.

email this page
print this page