Courtesy of Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. can pinpoint the day when his career as a historian began: nearly 50 years ago, on the day his grandfather died, Gates saw a photo of his great-great grandmother, who was a former slave.
Years later, Gates' fascination with his own ancestry led to a PBS series on the genealogy of a number of well known African Americans — from Oprah Winfrey, to Whoopi Goldberg, to Chris Tucker.
Gates' first PBS series was so successful that he has selected a new group to profile. In African American Lives 2, Gates explores the ancestry of Maya Angelou, Tina Turner, Chris Rock, and many more notable African-American men and women.