Before he was at Harvard, Henry Louis Gates had a brief tenure on the faculty at Duke University.
It was, apparently, a bumpy experience for Gates, the noted scholar thrust into the spotlight last week after being arrested at his home in Cambridge.
Gates' arrest has sparked a great deal or racial turmoil in Cambridge; Gates is black, the arresting officer is white, and nobody seems to be able to agree on precisely what happened.
Gates came to Durham two decades ago to join an English department run at the time by Stanley Fish.
Writing in the New York Times, Fish recalls how when Gates arrived in town, he bought a huge house and was immediately and repeatedly mistaken for the hired help.
It was apparently not a good experience for Gates, who was at Duke for so short a time that he didn't even develop an allegiance to the basketball team.
As Fish notes, Gates actually rooted for UNLV when Duke squared off against them in the national title game.
Gates left for Harvard in 1991.