In his new six-hour series, Africa’s Great Civilization, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes a new look at the history of Africa, from the birth of humankind to the dawn of the 20th century. This is a breathtaking and personal journey through two hundred thousand years of history, from the origins, on the African continent, of art, writing and civilization itself, through the millennia in which Africa and Africans shaped not only their own rich civilizations, but also the wider world. Professor Gates travels the length and breadth of Africa to chronicle the continent’s history from a firmly African perspective. His journey takes him from the city of Great Zimbabwe, to the pyramids of Meroe, and the spectacular rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia. The epic story that he tells is full of surprises and unexpected connections, helping us to appreciate the collective and individual genius of Africans who, across thousands of years, built civilizations and empires, fought wars, established great cities, furthered and spread learning, and created some of the most sublime art and architecture in human history.

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored seventeen books and created fourteen documentary films, including Finding Your Roots, season two, now airing on PBS.  His six-part PBS documentary series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross (2013), which he wrote, executive produced, and hosted, earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Program—Long Form, as well as the Peabody Award and NAACP Image Award. Having written for such leading publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Time, Professor Gates now serves as editor-in-chief of, a daily online magazine, while overseeing the Oxford African American Studies Center, the first comprehensive scholarly online resource in the field. In 2012, The Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Reader, a collection on his writings, was published. Professor Gates’s latest book is Finding Your Roots: The Official Companion to the PBS Series, released by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014.

Previously for PBS, Professor Gates produced and hosted Wonders of the African World (1999), America Beyond the Color Line (2004), African American Lives (2006), Oprah’s Roots (2007), African American Lives 2 (2008), Looking for Lincoln (2009), Faces of America (2010), Black in Latin America (2011), and Finding Your Roots, season one (2012).

The recipient of fifty-three honorary degrees and numerous prizes, Professor Gates was a member of the first class awarded “genius grants” by the MacArthur Foundation in 1981, and in 1998, he became the first African American scholar to be awarded the National Humanities Medal. He was named to Time’s 25 Most Influential Americans list in 1997, to Ebony’s Power 150 list in 2009, and to Ebony’s Power 100 list in 2010 and 2012. He earned his B.A. in English Language and Literature, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1973, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from Clare College at the University of Cambridge in 1979. Professor Gates has directed the W. E. B. Institute for African and African American Research—now the Hutchins Center—since arriving at Harvard in 1991, and during his first fifteen years on campus, he chaired the Department of Afro-American Studies as it expanded into the Department of African and African American Studies with a full-fledged doctoral program. He also is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and serves on a wide array of boards, including the New York Public Library, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Aspen Institute, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Library of America, and the Brookings Institution.


My Journey to Africa

Share your travel experiences with us! Take a look at our travel diary where you can log in your travels to share with the world!

Team is a little jet lagged but we are all well and ready for food and sleep. We get up early for the drive to GULU! Can’t wait to see our friends!

Project Survival’s Cat Haven has been leading small group safaris for 15 years. Our next safari is scheduled for November 2017. The trip is approximately 2 weeks in length and we will be visiting Tanzania. We can help you plan a custom safari for any time of the year. To to for more information.

I visited Uganda in 2012 after hearing stories from a childhood friend about her experience volunteering with an organization called Children of Grace. I spent almost three weeks in Uganda part of that time volunteering at a health education summer camp and the other half on safari in Murchison Falls National Park. Throughout the duration of my stay adventure was always at the forefront; from watching hippos on riverboat down the nile to accepting an invitation to a Ugandan couples wedding. Uganda has a rich history and abundant with resilient and kind people.

South Africa is very diverse, much like California! There are beaches and deserts and forest. The wild animals however, are much different than the ones in America. There are many parks that protect these wild animals and you can drive through the parks carefully, but you can’t get out of your vehicle. That would be very dangerous! People have lost their lives doing it. The customs in many areas in South Africa are also much different than America, as well as many homes. There are big cities there also which are much like the big cities in America.

Life in rural DRCongo/ Congolese dreamers/ Kishasa

I took my first trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa in 2016. It was a magnificent experience. I’ll be going there again this year.

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