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Harvard's Gates Received Literary Award

This article is more than 10 years old.

Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. has won one of the most prestigious New England literary awards.

Gates accepted the 2009 Sarah Josepha Hale Award Sunday at the Newport Opera House. The award has been presented annually since 1956 in recognition of a distinguished body of work in literature and letters. Gates is the first African-American writer to receive the award.

The award is given to literary figures associated primarily with New England through their work. Previous recipients include Robert Frost, Arthur Miller and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Gates' arrest in July by a white Cambridge, Mass., police officer investigating a possible burglary at Gates' home triggered a national debate over racial profiling. The disorderly conduct charge was dropped, and both men met at the White House with President Barack Obama for an informal "beer summit."

This program aired on October 5, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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