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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          NEWS SERVICES
210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

May 24, 2002 -- No. 292

Henry Louis Gates to brief media
on 'The Bondwoman's Narrative'

May 29, 3 p.m., 042 Sitterson Hall

South Columbia Street (Across from the Carolina Inn)

Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., whose new book "The Bondwoman's Narrative" has received national attention in media including The New York Times and USA Today, will answer reporters' questions for approximately 45 minutes.

Also available for questions will be UNC English professor Dr. William Andrews and his graduate student assistant, Bryan Sinche, who helped Gates with research for the book. They and other scholars now believe the story to be the first novel ever by a black woman and the only one by a formerly enslaved woman.

Gates will deliver a free public lecture about the book at 7 p.m. that evening (May 29) in UNC's Hanes Art Center Auditorium. He chairs Afro-American Studies at Harvard University.

The book reprints a handwritten manuscript Gates purchased last year that was labeled as a fictional tale by Hannah Crafts. The story is a first-person account of an enslaved woman who lived in Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, D.C., and eventually escaped to freedom in New Jersey.

Gates called scholars including Andrews to help solve mysteries including: Was Crafts a real person? Was the manuscript legitimate? Gates, Andrews and Sinche can describe how they determined that the answers probably are affirmative. Warner Books collected the story and Gates' analyses in the book published in March. For more information, see UNC news release No. 269, dated May 14.

Photographers: Lighting will be a combination of natural and interior fluorescent lights. The room is small. TV cameras may be set up in back.

Broadcasters: Please plan to use your own mikes on the podium.

Directions, media parking: From Raleigh, exit I-40 at N.C. 54 and turn right toward Chapel Hill. N.C. 54 becomes South Road through the UNC campus. After passing the Morehead Bell Tower, turn right at the next stoplight onto South Columbia Street. Proceed approximately a half block and turn right into the Sitterson lot. Someone from News Services will be there to open the gated lot.

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News Services contacts: Print, L.J. Toler, 919-962-8589; broadcast, Karen Moon, 919-962-8595