Skip to main content

Many Rivers to Cross

Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. remembers his childhood as being one of warmth. “I was surrounded by a sea of love,” he told Hollywood on the Potomac, but you probably already knew that. What you probably didn’t know is that his favorite childhood toy was Zippy the Monkey. “My favorite toy was a Monkey called Zip and I talked to him all the time.” Now, why is that important? Because it indicates that his leaning towards story telling began at an early age, even if the conversation was one directional.

“I was raised to be a doctor,” he went on to explain. “All smart little black boys and girls that I knew were raised to be doctors. Doctors were first and then lawyers But for my Mom, God rest her soul, there was Jesus and there were doctors.”

“We’re all really here to celebrate Skip Gates,” said Patricia de Stacy Harrison, CEO of Corporation for Public Broadcasting at an intimate dinner party at Cafe Milano, “the recent recipient of the very competitive Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award. We are all very proud of him for this CPB and PBS WETA supported series The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.”

“Skip is an esteemed scholar as you know,” added Sharon Percy Rockefeller, “prolific filmmaker, and a cultural icon. He has ice tea…..oh, I mean beer…….at the White House. My husband I have deep roots with Skip that go back as far as when Skip was about 15 or 16 years old. Jay was running for Secretary of State of West Virginia which is really when you prepare your race to run for Governor. We were touring and I remember Skip distinctly because he stood out in the crowd and we’ve been really good allies and friends ever since.”