|In his memoir COLORED PEOPLE, Henry Louis Gates describes the place where he grew up: Piedmont, West Virginia. It was a middle-class African American community, where people took an interest in each other and where the little details of everyday life passed into local history. Gates studied at Harvard University, and became one of the country's foremost scholars of African American history and literature. He first made his name at Cornell and later at Yale, editing collections of slave narratives, and writing THE SIGNIFYING MONKEY. He was asked by Harvard to establish a world-class Black Studies department, to which he recruited leading scholars. A prodigious scholar himself, Gates assembled THE NORTON ANTHOLOGY OF AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE, and created an entirely new online reference work, an encyclopedia of Africana based on the ideas first proposed by W.E.B. Dubois. He also edited lesser-known works by obscure writers, including Hannah Craft's THE BONDWOMAN'S NARRATIVE, which he believes is the first novel by a female slave. Gates is known to the general public as the host of several popular PBS series, including a series in which he traveled to Africa, one on genealogy called AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES, and, in 2007, FINDING OPRAH'S ROOTS, about the ancestry of TV personality Oprah Winfrey. In his personal life, Gates is a collector of memorabilia relating to the African American experience. In 2008, Henry Louis Gates was named editor-in-chief of The Root, an online magazine of the Washington Post Company.