Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Henry Louis ‘Skip’ Gates Jr. is an American literary critic, educator, scholar, writer and editor. He was the first African-American to earn a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in England, as well as the first to receive the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his teaching, research and development of academic institutions to study black culture.
As a black intellectual and public figure, Gates has been an outspoken critic of the Eurocentric literary canon. He has insisted that black literature must be evaluated by the aesthetic criteria of its culture of origin, not criteria imported from Western or European cultural traditions that express a “tone deafness to the black cultural voice” and result in “intellectual racism.”
Maulana Karenga, Ph.D.
Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga, Ph.D. is a professor of Africana Studies at California State University Long Beach. An activist and author, best known as the creator of the pan-African and African-American holiday, Kwanzaa.
Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as the first pan-African holiday. He said his goal was to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”