With all the Abraham Lincoln buzz this month, in commemoration of our 16th president’s 200th birthday, every night brings something new to watch. Tonight, we’re looking forward to catching scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s Looking for Lincoln on PBS. From the look of the previews, it promises to be a fascinating documentary. Here’s what media columnist Richard Prince had to say about it at his blog:
The two-hour documentary arrives on the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth and after the election of the nation’s first African American president, an Illinoisan who was sworn in on the Bible Lincoln used, was elected to the same U.S. Senate seat and has professed his admiration for Lincoln as a role model.
Yet few if any journalists have questioned Obama about the irony of his exaltation of a man who believed that African Americans were inferior, told “darky” jokes, used the “N” word, and for a time, believed blacks should be shipped to Africa in a colonization project. Not even Gates.
That contradiction — between the Lincoln of myth and the Lincoln as a man of his time, particularly on race — provides the centerpiece of Gates’ documentary.
If you watch Looking for Lincoln tonight, or during one of its future airings, please check back to let us know what you think.