Characters

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 193

There are no traditional "characters" in Colored People, as the book is an autobiography of Professor Henry Louis Gates. However, he mentions various people that were pivotal throughout his life during the 1950s and 1960s in segregated Piedmont, West Virginia.

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For instance, he mentions his mother, who went through a heavy depression during middle age. He eventually learned that she was a pioneer who led an important march before the civil rights movement began.

Additionally, Gates included his father, Henry Louis Gates, Sr., a man who criticized black people often. Further, Gates never truly got along with his father and sought his approval growing up.

He also has an older brother who was interested in sports and was an avid athlete; however, he missed an important award because the hotel near the state capital did not allow black guests.

Gates mentions his Uncle Jim, who was never afraid to ask white people to go hunting on their lands. Moreover, he was the first black man in their town to own firearms.

Gates also highlights his white girlfriend, Maura. They flaunted their interracial relationship in public and faced ridicule and discrimination as a result.

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