Henry L. Gates

Last year I was contacted by researchers at PBS’s Finding Your Roots to help out with interpreting a document for a future episode. I was unaware of who the subject was until last night. Turned out the subject was filmmaker Kasi Lemmons. The episode centered largely around a post-Civil War newspaper article about a Confederate Read more

I’ve written a number of posts on this blog as well as in my new book about Dr. Henry Louis Gates’s confusion about the black Confederate myth. In this webinar sponsored by PBS Education he managed to confuse it even further.  Dr. Gates is still referencing his colleague John Stauffer’s piece in The Root Read more

Over the past week media coverage has spiked in response to the proposal from two Republican state legislators in South Carolina, who are proposing to erect a monument to black Confederates on the state house grounds. What is different about this latest wave of coverage is the clear denial that these men ever existed in Read more

Bryant Gumbel woke up today believing that his great-grandfather briefly volunteered as a soldier in the Confederate army. Since the airing of Finding Your Roots on Tuesday evening tens of thousands of Americans now believe that the Confederate government recruited black soldiers into the army as early as the first two years of the war Read more

Update: Here is the link to the text that Ijames reads from in the video below. Those of you who have followed this blog and commentary about the myth of the black Confederate soldier are all too familiar with Earl Ijames, who is a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. Ijames Read more

Last night I caught part of Season 3 of Finding Your Roots, which included an episode about Keenen Ivory Wayans. The recent controversy involving Henry Louis Gates and Ben Affleck left me wondering if any substantial changes would be made to the show. It didn’t take long to answer. FYR is pretty good at “finding” Read more

I don’t know too much about Melissa Harris-Perry or her show on MSNBC. The network is almost as worthless as FOX News, so what I have seen of her program has been little more than individual segments through various websites. All in all the show strikes me as an honest attempt to bring some thoughtfulness Read more

Why didn’t Henry Louis Gates and the producers of PBS’s “Finding Your Roots” just ask Ben Affleck’s mother whether she took part in the Freedom Summer of 1964? Over the weekend we went from editing out a section of Affleck’s episode to learning that a basic fact that tied his family’s narrative together is false Read more

This story just continues to get jucier with each passing day. The website Gawker now has the original script for Ben Affleck’s episode of “Finding Your Roots.” Henry Louis Gates has maintained that the decision to focus on another of Affleck’s ancestors had nothing to do with the actor’s request to steer clear of his Read more

Update: Gawker got hold of the original script for Affleck’s segment. It looks like the editorial changes were made in response to the actor’s request to remove references to his slave-owning ancestor. Late yesterday Ben Affleck released a statement apologizing for requesting that ties to a slave-owning ancestor be edited out of an episode of Read more