Ligon’s stepmother, Charlene, was hovering around “Nov. 6, 2012,” (the piece is titled One Black Day). I asked her why she thought it wasn’t lit up like the others “I was thinking,” she said, “Oh, Glenn. That means he'll light it November 6th when the right person is in office.” “Do you know what November 6th is?” a woman nearby wondered aloud. “It’s election day,” I said. A friend of the woman jumped in. “So why is the title One Black Day?” he asked. Without waiting for an answer he walked over to Ligon to ask the artist dieectly.
On a frank and, sometimes, heated conversation about race, between Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Ilan Stevens
This tension between biological identity and socially-constructed identity became the night's theme, and Gates didn’t restrict his analysis to others. He noted that his DNA test revealed that he’s 56 percent white. In fact, it was his own family’s racial mixture that catalyzed his passion for genealogy. "My grandfather was so white, we used to call him Casper behind his back," he said. "How has your standing in the African American community changed?" Stavans asked about Gates' DNA discovery. "I got a raise at Harvard," Gates said.(2)