Kerry James Marshall and Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr., are two of the towering figures in American Black life, and they're still making news after their appearance at the Cathedral on Sept. 23.

Marshall, as you know, designed the Cathedral’s new “Now and Forever” windows that were unveiled and dedicated on Sept. 23. Gates — a renowned Harvard historian and the dean of African American scholars — spoke at the dedication and penned the forward for our new commemorative book on the windows project.

Now, Marshall has unveiled the portrait he painted of Gates, which will hang in the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge.

Per The Guardian:

Marshall’s portrait of Gates was unveiled on Monday and is now on public display at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. It is only the second work by the world-renowned artist in a public institution in the UK.

Both the artist and the author were present at the portrait’s unveiling. It was the first time Gates had seen the finished work.

The portrait was originally intended to hang in Clare College, said Gates. “Once they realised it was by Kerry James Marshall, it couldn’t be hung in some common room with students spilling beer everywhere.”

Marshall, 67, said it was a “no-brainer” when he was asked to paint Gates’s portrait. The work, Henry Louis Gates Jr. 2020, depicts Gates 

seated in front of a window at a table on which sits an Emmy award and a small stack of his books, including The Signifying Monkey and Wonders of the African World.


Kevin Eckstrom

Chief Public Affairs Officer

  • racial justice