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THURSDAY

Harvard University’s eminent public intellectuals Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West say the premise for their new book, The Future of the Race, is the indisputable fact that American society has failed to “protect the basic, ostensibly inalienable rights of its people and that the leadership of the African-American community has a special responsibility to attend to these rights.” But don’t expect a laundry list of social program initiatives; Gates and West aren’t policy wonks, they’re intellectuals. They dissect, analyze, and talk real good every chance they get. They do one hell of a job stripping away decades of varnish from W.E.B. DuBois’ theory of the “Talented Tenth,” which advocated that the educated are uniquely situated to address the problems of black America. Gates’ dissection takes the form of a personal essay, “Parable of the Talents,” while West takes the stand-ard poking-holes-in-theory approach in “Black Strivings in a Twilight Civilization.” In each instance, the men offer powerful insights into the dilemma confronting African-Americans and much of American society. At 7 p.m. at All Souls Church, 16th & Harvard Sts. NW. $5. (202) 429-9272.CP