David Coleman and Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr: A Conversation on Providing Students with Challenging Educational Opportunities

During their conversation at College Board Forum, College Board CEO David Coleman and Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University, explored the rich history of Professor Gates’ life and scholarship.

Professor Gates detailed how he was exposed to African American History, and how the experience with the material dramatically changed the course of his education and his professional journey. He also discussed how advice from his family and the politics of the day in the educational sphere and in society generally, impacted the person and scholar he would become.

Toward the end of their conversation, David shared with Professor Gates that College Board is exploring the creation of a new Advanced Placement (AP) course in the discipline of African-American Studies, which will also include key connections to the African Diaspora. David described how the pioneers of the field inspired and profoundly contributed to the pursuit and ongoing development of this potential course.

Professor Gates, one of the founders and luminaries in the field, was excited to hear about the potential course and shared how important the course would be and what it would mean to students across the educational spectrum.  He said that this canonization of African American Studies would help increase exposure and reach for the field on the level that matters most—within the secondary school system and then beyond.