Reconstruction filmmaker Gates visits Beaufort

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Henry Louis Gates Jr., the renowned documentary filmmaker and Harvard professor, paid a visit to Beaufort last week.

On Thursday, April 4, Gates, the host of the popular PBS series “Finding Your Roots,” visited Technical College of the Lowcountry for a screening from his four-part PBS documentary, “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War.”

Beaufort County will be home to the newly established Reconstruction Era National Park.

After the screening, there was a panel discussion featuring Gates, ETV’s Beryl Dakers, Damon Fordham, Millicent Brown and noted South Carolina historian Walter Edgar. 

Then on Friday, Gates led a virtual classroom discussion about the documentary with the Young Leaders of Beaufort, a middle school leadership organization started by Beaufort mayor Billy Keyserling, in a studio at WJW-TV, the S.C. Education Television studio in Beaufort.

The event was broadcast live to schools throughout the state and podcast to the general public.

The virtual classroom discussion can be viewed at

Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. An Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder, Gates has authored or co-authored 21 books and created 15 documentaries.

Part 1 of “Reconstruction: America After the Civil War” next airs on SCETV at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16.

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