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Gates: Blacks Have Seen Big Gains and Tragic Setbacks

Black Americans have seen tremendous gains but also have experienced significant setbacks in the past 50 years, Henry Louis Gates Jr. told a Furman University audience Monday.

Even as more blacks have entered the middle-class, many other African Americans have been beset by poverty, police brutality and high incarceration rates, said Gates, 67, a Harvard professor, documentary filmmaker and prominent commentator on race in America.

"To paraphrase Dickens, for some of us it's the best of times, and for other people, it's the worst of times," Gates said, addressing a capacity audience at Furman's Younts Conference Center.

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