Henry Louis Skip Gates

Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates PBS

By Laura Conaway

Harvard professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates had locked himself out of his house. Gates, among the nation's pre-eminent African-American academics, managed to open a door, but soon found himself confronted by Cambridge, Mass., police investigating a potential break-in -- meaning, of course, his attempt to get back into his own house.

The Boston Globe captures the scene last Thursday:

He was booked for disorderly conduct after "exhibiting loud and tumultuous behavior," according to the Cambridge police log.

Atlantic blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates, himself African-American, remarks:

"I bet he did exhibit 'loud and tumultuous behavior.' I likely would too. Actually, I wouldn't. But I don't work for Harvard. And my mother taught me how black men are to address the police."

categories: National News

5:37 - July 20, 2009