Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discusses two books he has coming out in early 2009 -- Lincoln on Slavery and Race (Princeton) and In Search of Our Roots: How 19 Extraordinary African Americans Reclaimed Their Past (Crown Books).
The Lincoln book is a companion piece to a PBS documentary.
Henry Louis Gates Jr
Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. (born September 16, 1950, Piedmont, West Virginia) is a literary critic, educator, scholar, writer, editor, and public intellectual. Gates currently serves as the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, where he is Chair of the African and African American Studies Department and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.
Walter Isaacson is the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute based in Washington, DC. He has been the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. thinks Abraham Lincoln would have a "heart attack" if he came back to life and found America had elected a black president, though Gates believes the former President would find the two men have much in common.
Gates says, "Both are committed to transcending ideology and bringing people together."
(born Sept. 16, 1950, Keyser, W.Va., U.S.) U.S. critic and scholar. Gates attended Yale University and the University of Cambridge. He has chaired Harvard University's department of Afro-American Studies for many years. In such works as Figures in Black (1987) and The Signifying Monkey (1988) he has used the term signifyin' to represent a practice that can link African and African American literary histories; his other books include Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man (1998). He has edited many anthologies, including Reading Black, Reading Feminist (1990) and the Norton Anthology of African American Writers (1997), and has restored and edited many lost works by black writers. He writes frequently to a general public, notably in The New Yorker, and he wrote the television series Wonders of the African World (1999).
Abraham Lincoln, 1863.Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.(born Feb. 12, 1809, near Hodgenville, Ky., U.S.died April 15, 1865, Washington, D.C.) 16th president of the U.S. (186165). Born in a Kentucky log cabin, he moved to Indiana in 1816 and to Illinois in 1830. After working as a storekeeper, a rail-splitter, a postmaster, and a surveyor, he enlisted as a volunteer in the Black Hawk War (1832) and was elected captain of his company. He taught himself law and in 1836 passed the bar examination. In 1837 he moved his practice from New Salem to Springfield, Ill. He became a successful circuit-riding lawyer, noted for his shrewdness, common sense, and honesty (earning the nickname Honest Abe). From 1834 to 1840 he served in the Illinois state legislature, and in 1847 he was elected as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1856 he joined the Republican Party, which nominated him as its candidate in the 1858 Senate election. In a series of seven debates with Stephen A. Douglas (the Lincoln-Douglas Debates), he argued against the extension of slavery into the territories. Though morally opposed to slavery, he was not an abolitionist; indeed, he attempted to rebut Douglas's charge that he was a dangerous radical, by reassuring audiences that he did not favour political equality for blacks. Despite his loss in the election, the debates brought him national attention. In the 1860 presidential election, he ran against Douglas again and won by a large margin in the electoral college, though he received only two-fifths of the popular vote. The South opposed his position on slavery in the territories, and before his inauguration seven Southern states had seceeded from the Union. The ensuing American Civil War completely consumed Lincoln's administration. He excelled as a wartime leader, creating a high command for directing all the country's energies and resources toward the war effort and combining statecraft and overall command of the armies with what some have called military genius. However, his abrogation of some civil liberties, especially the writ of habeas corpus, and the closing of several newspapers by his generals disturbed both Democrats and Republicans, including some members of his own cabinet. To unite the North and influence foreign opinion, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation (1863); his Gettysburg Address (1863) further ennobled the war's purpose. The continuing war affected some Northerners' resolve and his reelection was not assured, but strategic battle victories turned the tide, and he easily defeated George B. McClellan in 1864. His platform included passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery (ratified 1865). At his second inaugural, with victory in sight, he spoke of moderation in reconstructing the South and building a harmonious Union. On April 14, five days after the war ended, he was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth.
90% of the police are corrupted beyond control and need to go. Racism is an issue, but what the media is doing is trying to make the issue worse. They are pushing a race war on the public... and most are stupid enough to buy into it.
I can tell be your avatar that you are a brainwashed sheep... "stand with free Iran" LOL
How about a free America first! Are you from Iran? If not... why you worried about what they are doing?
bryphi said, "Mainstream media is pushing the race issue on the public. Wonder why???????????????????????????????"
How are they pushing the race issue? "Wonder why?" It is a legitimate question to ask in the case of Gates...I am a white male who lives in Georgia and I can say without a doubt in my mind hard core racism is still alive and kickin! I know first hand the police in my state have serious problems with not only racial profiling but abuses of power!
There has to be open discussions about how the police act when it comes to race. The cops in the US lack proper training and are then given enormous power in which many of them simply abuse! I have worked in the Criminal Justice System in Georgia and there are serious problems! Especially when it comes to racial profiling!
If it were not for modern technology police would be getting away with the abuses that are actually caught on tape. In most cases when a police officer gets busted they are forced to "resign" not get "fired". Resigning allows them to work for another law enforcement agency...THIS IS WRONG!
I am very happy the media is having this discusion on race! Everyone should be unless they are so naive to think there is no more racism just because we have a mixed race President or they are racist themselves!
It is influential people of obvious rank and privilege who turn ordinary men into "Great Men" for the masses. Such as with Abraham Lincoln, when Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton supposedly muttered: "now he belongs to the ages", but if Stanton really said that, who would know?
I also contend that Lincoln was only a man with personal faults along with some ideal values and visions, but let's face the truth, he may not had achieved such status, had he survived. In deed, he may have confused and dismayed black and white alike.
If you want to understand Lincoln further, we have his only surviving son Robert Todd for reference. The closest Robert's father would allow him to the war, was on General Grant's staff; and that's saying a lot, compared to the kind of people we have in office today. But then Robert had the luxury of attending Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University. They didn't have the SAT back then, yet a president's son is a slam dunk.
Robert Todd went on to private and public work, such as Secretary of War and Ambassador to Britain....a pretty comfortable life for the late Nineteenth century. But he was also counsel to the questionable yet notable George Pullman, who attempted to control most monetary aspects of all his employees by creating his own town in the south side of Chicago. The town of Pullman provided everything until his business declined, then it was a nightmare for laborers with Pullman's rent rising, while at the same time employee wages were declining. Pullman even called President Cleveland for federal troops while Illinois Governor Altgeld was working for a more peaceful solution. What was Robert Todd counseling to Pullman? That war is the path to peace. Were do you suppose he learned that from?
If the apple fell close to the tree, and I suspect that it did, we can see in the actions of his son, what we may have expected from the great Emancipator. After all, you cannot tax slaves, can you?
Does anyone know that of the first ten states to ratify that sixteenth amendment of the Constitution (income tax) were ex-slave states, with Alabama at the top of the list...