You can say I had a severe case of ‘Roots’ envy. I wanted to be like Alex Haley, and I wanted to be able to… do my family tree back to the slave ship and then reverse the Middle Passage, as I like to put it, and find the tribe or ethnic group that I was from in Africa.
Henry Louis Gates
More Henry Louis Gates Jr. quotes :
But you see, our society is still trapped in this binary, black/white logic and that has had some very positive implications for our generation. It's had some very negative ones as well and one of the negative ones is that it creates enormous identity problems for people who have one black ancestor and all white ancestors for example.Henry Louis Gates Jr.
I first learned that there were black people living in some place called other than the United States in the western hemisphere when I was a very little boy, and my father told me that when he was a boy about my age, he wanted to be an Episcopal priest, because he so admired his priest, a black man from someplace called Haiti.Henry Louis Gates