Humanities Nebraska to bring Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Omaha to speak on “Finding Your Roots”

Omaha Civic Engagement, Culture, History, Humanities

Historian, filmmaker, popular PBS host, and renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. will be the featured speaker for the 26th annual Governor’s Lecture in the Humanities on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha. The event is presented by Humanities Nebraska (HN), with co-sponsors including Union Pacific and the University of Nebraska.

“We are so pleased to bring Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. to Nebraska this fall,” said HN executive director Chris Sommerich. “We are also excited to change up the format this year, to less of a lecture and more of a combination of interview and conversation. “The Q&A portion of this event has always been an audience favorite, and Professor Gates is superb at this kind of interaction,” Sommerich continued. “He will also share some clips from ‘Finding Your Roots’ and discuss how exploring our personal ancestry connects us with our broader history and with each other.”

“Finding Your Roots,” Gates’ groundbreaking genealogy and genetics series, is now in its seventh season on PBS. As an Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker, Gates has produced and hosted more than twenty documentary films, including the recent “The Black Church” on PBS and “Black Art: In the Absence of Light” for HBO. Professor Gates’ most recent books are “Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow,” and “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song.” At Harvard University, he is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research.

Co-chaired by HN board member Beth Whited and former board member Mary Lopez, a benefit reception prior to the free public lecture will raise important funding for HN’s statewide humanities programs. Live-streaming will also be available for the public program with Professor Gates. For more information about sponsorships and invitations to the benefit reception or other event details, please visit Humanities Nebraska online at or call the HN office at 402.474.2131.