Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., a renowned African American literary and history scholar, will be the featured speaker for the eighth annual summer signature event sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Branch of The Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

The event will be August 17, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Performing Arts Center.

African American Lives will be the focus of Dr. Gates’s illustrated presentation.

Professor Gates is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He wrote and is the host and producer of the African American Lives PBS series — the first documentary series to employ genealogy and science to provide an understanding of African American history. Mr. Gates served as the chairman of the department of African studies at Harvard from 1991 to 2006.

The association is a national organization founded in 1915 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 -1950), recognized as the father of African American History. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the association’s mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about black life, history and culture to the global community. Dr. Gates is a member of the advisory council to the association. The Vineyard branch, one of 45 branches across the country and established in 2002, supports the study of African American history and life in schools, homes, churches and community groups on the Island.

The program will also include the new choir of the Martha’s Vineyard NAACP under its artistic director Lawrence C. Watson, associate professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. The 20 choir members are Island residents and will present a repertoire to complement the theme of Dr. Gates’s presentation. A donation of $15 at the event is suggested to help support the educational programs of the association.