'An Author and a Gentleman: Louis Gossett, Jr.

Watch the Video

Watch the video of Gossett's campus presentation.

Responses from the Media

"Oscar-winner Gossett will speak on Hollywood racism," Barbara Howard, November 4, 2010, BrandeisNOW.

Oscar-Winning Actor
Louis Gossett, Jr.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Rapaporte Treasure Hall, Goldfarb Library

Louis Gossett, Jr. is best known for his Oscar-winning role in “An Officer and a Gentleman”—the first African-American male to receive that honor—and his Emmy-winning role in the TV miniseries "Roots." With an acting career that spans five decades and includes Broadway, big-screen cinema, and television, Gossett is one of America's most highly esteemed actors. His newest film, "The Grace Card," is slated for release on February 25, 2011. It tells the story of two Memphis cops and their journey towards racial reconciliation.

Gossett tells the story of his life and career in  "An Actor and a Gentleman," (with Phyllis Karas, Wiley, May 2010), memoirs of his experience not only with the great actors and actresses with whom he associated, but with racism, his struggles for leading roles and fair pay, how he overcame substance abuse, and his current work fighting racism and providing at-risk children with better opportunities.

Gossett's work "erasing" racism is organized around the Eracism Foundation, an organization he founded and which is dedicated to eradicating racism through programs that foster cultural diversity, historical enrichment, education, and antiviolence initiatives. Gossett writes in his book about his goal to organize the Eracism Foundation around Shamba Centers, which will be set up around the idea of "permanent" summer programs with all the tools necessary to enable the motto: "Nothing is impossible." Shamba Centers were inspired by Gossett's Jewish friends and neighbors in Brooklyn where he grew up. Watching his Jewish neighbors lead successful lives based in faith, identity, and strong family values convinced Gossett to try to replicate that experience for at-risk children.

On this occasion, Gossett spoke about his experiences with racism in the film industry, how he conquered severe drug addiction, and why he now devotes his life to educating others–especially young people–about the importance of eliminating racism.


African and Afro-American Studies
American Studies
Brandeis Black Student Organization
Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries
Department of Anthropology
Film, Television and Interactive Media
Hiatt Career Center
Office of the Arts
Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences
Office of the Provost
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Brandeis
Peace, Conflict & Coexistence
Social Justice and Social Policy Program
The Interfaith Chaplaincy at Brandeis