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Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. to deliver 2015 Peabody-Smithgall Lecture

Henry Louis Gates Peabody Award-v
Henry Louis Gates

Peabody-winning Harvard professor to speak on ‘Genealogy, Genetics and Race'

Athens, Ga. – Henry Louis Gates Jr., Peabody-winning historian, TV personality and Harvard University professor, will present the sixth Peabody-Smithgall Lecture on Oct. 26 at 3 p.m. at the historic Morton Theatre in downtown. The event is presented by the University of Georgia’s Peabody Awards.

Gates’ lecture, “Genealogy, Genetics and Race,” is free and open to the public. Seating is limited to the first 500 attendees. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. Guests are advised to park in the Washington Street parking deck.

“Henry Louis Gates is a rare combination, an intellectual and historian who is also an entertainer,” said Jeffrey P. Jones, director of the Peabody Awards. “The television programs he produces and hosts have popular immediacy and lasting scholarly value. He’s an ideal choice to deliver our sixth Peabody-Smithgall Lecture.”

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. He is the author of 17 books and has created 14 television programs, among them the documentary “Wonders of the African World” and the series “Finding Your Roots.” His six-part documentary series, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (2013), won an Emmy, a duPont-Columbia University Award and an NAACP Image Award as well as a Peabody.

Gates has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times and Time. He is editor-in-chief of, a daily online magazine, and oversees the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field. “The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader,” a collection of his writings, was published in 2012. His latest book is “Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series,” released by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014.

The lecture is sponsored in part by the Morton Theatre Corporation, UGA Institute for African American Studies and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, and will be featured as part UGA’s Signature Lecture series.

The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is named in honor of Lessie Bailey Smithgall and her late husband, Charles Smithgall. In the late 1930s, Mrs. Smithgall introduced Lambdin Kay, general manager of Atlanta’s WSB Radio, and John Drewry, dean of UGA’s School of Journalism. Their efforts led to the establishment of the George Foster Peabody Awards at the university. In 2003, the Smithgalls endowed the Lambdin Kay Chair for the Peabodys, now held by Jones. The Peabody-Smithgall Lecture is supported with funds from the Lambdin Kay Chair.

Peabody is an organization dedicated to invigorating people through the power of stories. Founded in 1940, Peabody honors and extends conversation around stories that matter in radio, television and digital media through symposiums, screenings, podcasts and an annual awards ceremony considered to be among the most prestigious in the entertainment industry. Peabody gives awards for news, entertainment, documentaries, children’s programming, education, interactive programming, and public service, in turn, encouraging the media industries to reach for and achieve the highest standards. Peabody is administered through the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. For more information, visit or follow @PeabodyAwards on Twitter.

About Grady College
Established in 1915, the UGA Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication
offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations and entertainment and media studies. The college offers several graduate degrees and is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media. For more information, see or follow @UGAGrady on Twitter.