Mount Auburn Cemetery lecture, Boston Public Library

Just received a mailing from Mount Auburn Cemetery, and there is a great lecture coming up:

“W.E.B. Du Bois and the Enyclopedia Africana”
October 18, 2006, 6 p.m. Boston Public Library, Copley Square
Free and open to the public

Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
is the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. Earlier this year he had a fantastic documentary series on PBS entitled “African American Lives“. I watched all the episodes, and loved every moment. Using genealogy and genetics, he researching his own history as well as several famous or high-achieving African Americans such as Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, and Quincy Jones. It brought to live the thrill of the profession! I am often asked “what is it, exactly, that genealogists do?” The short answer is “research”.. and that’s when others lose interest. They regain it once the research has been done, and answers have been found! But I love the research process… it is a combination of skill and luck, knowing where to look for records, and piece together seemingly disjointed facts to recreate a life, then a family, then an ancestry. Henry Louis Gates documentary focused on the research process – including the frustrations of finding dead ends, the excitement of discovering previously unused documents, and even the personal wonder of seeing a relatives name on some long-forgotten record, and matching it up with a house or town that still exists. Gates documents the search for his own history, then presents the histories of his guest’s to them personally. I love the passionate responses of Oprah when he presents her family history, the look of disbelief and then immediate connection when she learns of people who she never knew existed previously, but then relates to their actions and emotions. It is certainly worth watching. I think I even wrote a review on the series, I will see if I can find where that currently might be…!

So back to the Mount Auburn mailing. Henry Louis Gates is giving a lecture “W.E.B. Du Bois and Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience”, which will discuss the history and culture of Africa and the African Diaspora including references to African Americans buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery. This is part of the anniversary celebrations of Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, “Facets of Mount Auburn Cemetery: Celebrating 175 Years of a Boston Jewel.” Should be very interesting!!

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