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Tuesday, January 10

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Rescheduled

Writers in the Loft welcomes acclaimed scholar and critic Henry Louis Gates, Jr. with his new book Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008 Monday, April 16, at 7pm (Previously Tuesday, January 17).

The evening will be moderated by Reginald A. Wilburn,
Assistant Professor of English, University of New Hampshire

“A ‘Buzz Book’: “The Harvard Professor traces African American history in text and image from the arrival of the conquistadors to the election of Barack Obama….The academic superstar who found Oprah’s roots and set off a firestorm over race and the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts,now returns with a massive history—more than five hundred pages with more than seven hundred color photos and images.” – USA TODAY

Due to travel and filming commitments related to his coming PBS miniseries “Finding Your Roots,” Henry Louis Gates Jr. has rescheduled his Music Hall Loft event, originally schedule for Tuesday, January 17, at 7:00, to Monday, April 16, at 7:00 pm. Tickets are now on sale for the April 16 event.  (Note - patrons with tickets for the originally scheduled date may use them for the new April date, and do not have to contact the box office. Those who prefer a refund must return the tickets to the box office no later than January 31. Tickets may be returned for credit toward another ‘Music Hall presents’ event up to two days before the event, by April 14.)

On Monday, April 16, The Music Hall’s Writers in the Loft series welcomes one of the foremost scholars and critics of our time, Harvard University’s Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  The author of several bestselling books joins the series to discuss his new nonfiction work, Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History, 1513-2008.  His appearance with Writers in the Loft will take place at The Music Hall Loft at 131 Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth. The evening will be moderated by University of New Hampshire Professor of England Reginald A. Wilburn, who specializes in Milton and the African American literary tradition.

About the book, Life Upon These Shores

This landmark book been heralded as “comprehensive, stunning … like nothing you’ve seen before.”  Tracing African American history from the arrival of the conquistadors to the 2008 Presidential election, Life Upon These Shores is informed by the latest scholarship and is sumptuously illustrated with maps, documents, and photographs. The book focuses on history-defining events, debates, and controversies, as well as the achievements of people famous and obscure.

Gates takes us from the sixteenth century through the ordeal of slavery, from the Civil War and Reconstruction through the Jim Crow era and the Great Migration; from the civil rights and black nationalist movements through the age of hip-hop on to the Joshua generation. By documenting and illuminating the sheer diversity of African American involvement in American history, society, politics, and culture, he definitively establishes that there has been no one “black experience” in the United States.

Gates reveals in rich detail the vast range of roles, social perspectives, and pressing issues faced by each generation of African Americans. From politics to entertainment to literature to the fight for equality and social justice, Life Upon These Shores includes:

More than 700 images, including ancient maps, rare photographs, art, sheet music, postcards, as well as cartoons and advertising that will shock modern audiences.
Thorough discussion of the influence of global affairs on African American history beginning with the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. The latest (often provocative) research from more than 400 years of public records and private collections that illuminates both well-known African Americans and those whose stories and contributions have been forgotten.

Analysis of the complex and controversial debates between central figures such as Booker T. Washington and W.E. B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.
This new work by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is of major importance, a breathtaking tour de force which informs our understanding of history.

About the Author

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is arguably the foremost scholar in the field of African American Studies. He is Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the award-winning author of 19 previous books, including Colored People: A Memoir. He was a star participant in President Obama’s 2010 Rose Garden “Beer Summit” related to a controversy in his Cambridge, MA, home. He has also hosted several PBS mini-series including the upcoming “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,” an exploration of the backgrounds of famous Americans.

About the Moderator

Dr. Reginald A. Wilburn is an assistant professor of English, specializing in Milton and the African American literary tradition. His first manuscript, Milton and the Gospel of Black Revoltis presently under review at a major university press.  Additional academic interests include intertextuality, feminist, gender, and sexuality studies.  He is also interested in interrogating rhetorical connections between music and the literary word in African American culture.  A vocalist, former U.S. Marine, and intern of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, Dr. Wilburn remains devoted to promoting visionary scholars and citizens through his “pedagogy of liberation.”

About Writers in the Loft

Writers in the Loft is akin to The Music Hall’s anchor author series, Writers on a New England Stage, featuring well-known authors but in a smaller, more intimate space.  It is produced as a partnership between The Music Hall and RiverRun Bookstore with Series Sponsor Citizens Bank. The series brings audiences today’s top authors, and the best of fiction and nonfiction.  Previous writers in the series include Andre Dubus III, Jennifer Egan, Stephen Greenblatt, Chris Bohjalian and Adam Gopnik.

Writers in the Loft Package Purchase

Tickets to Writers in the Loft;  Henry Louis Gates are $61 for members of The Music Hall ($64 for general public).  Included in the package are a reserved seat, a copy of Life Upon These Shores ($50, hardcover), bar beverage; and author presentation, Q+A, and book signing meet-and-greet. Tickets are available through The Music Hall Box Office, located at 28 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth, over the phone at 603-436-2400 or online. Packages can also be purchased on the night of the event, if available, at The Music Hall Loft Box office at 131 Congress Street, beginning at 6:00 pm for the 7:00 pm event.  The author will autograph his book for package-purchasers on the night, following his reading and discussion. 

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