Scholar Reappraises President Lincoln In a new documentary, Looking for Lincoln, Henry Louis Gates Jr. tries to uncover the real man. He discovers that Abraham Lincoln may have been known as the great emancipator, but he also told racist jokes and hoped to resolve America's racial dilemma by sending blacks back to Africa.
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Scholar Reappraises President Lincoln

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Scholar Reappraises President Lincoln

Scholar Reappraises President Lincoln

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This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As a boy, Henry Louis Gates Jr. idolized Abraham Lincoln, the great emancipator, Father Abraham, a moral giant. As a scholar, he learned a more complicated story, about a politician, a compromiser, a man who may have hated slavery, but used the N-word, told racist jokes, and hoped to resolve America's racial dilemma by sending blacks back to Africa. In a new documentary that starts to air tonight on PBS, "Looking for Lincoln," Gates reappraises our 16th president on his 200th birthday. Here, he listens to historian David Blight recall a notorious exchange in the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, where Abraham Lincoln asserts the superiority of the white race.

(Soundbite of documentary "Looking for Lincoln")

Dr. DAVID W. BLIGHT (American History, Yale University): There's no question. Stephen Douglas painted Lincoln in a corner, tried to make him into the black Republican, the radical. That was the game. And Lincoln responded, he got defensive, enhanced the statements about his own disbelief in racial equality, if we can call it that.

Dr. HENRY LOUIS "SKIP" GATES JR. (Director, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University): He had to remind people that he was a racist, too.

Dr. BLIGHT: Yeah.

CONAN: And later in the program, we'll discuss President Obama's expansion of the faith-based initiative with Eboo Patel. But first, is Abraham Lincoln your hero? Why, or why not? Our phone number, 800-989-8255; email us, And you can join the conversation on our Web site. That's at; click on Talk of the Nation. Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, joins us from our bureau in New York. It's nice to have you back on the program.

Dr. GATES: Thank you, Neal. Nice to be back.

CONAN: And intellectually, we know that Lincoln was a man of his times, that attitudes towards race were very different in the first half of the 19th century. It is still hard to understand the disconnect between the image of the great emancipator and those words we just heard about.

Dr. GATES: It's extraordinarily difficult even for me. You might think that I would know better, but you know, Lincoln was not a subject of inquiry for me. I hadn't really thought that much about Abraham Lincoln until Peter Kunhardt, my co-executive producer, a couple of years ago asked me if I would host and narrate and write this documentary on Abraham Lincoln. And so, as you know, there are over 15,000 books written about Abraham Lincoln. Only Jesus has more books written about him than Abraham Lincoln. So, I read all 15,000 books, of course.

CONAN: Of course.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: I read - I threw myself into the scholarship, and I was surprised that there were certain silences in the works of even the greatest historians of Lincoln, even some of my dearest friends, that people were - well, there was a kind of a reluctance, let's say, to discuss the complexity of Mr. Lincoln's thinking about race. We conflate today being opposed to slavery - and let's be clear, Lincoln was always opposed to the institution of slavery - but for us, that means that Lincoln favored racial equality, and he didn't. These two things were distinctly different discourses for him. In fact, we can parse Lincoln's thinking about race and slavery into three subcategories. One is slavery, one is racial equality, and one is, as you said, colonization, and these interplay in a fascinating contradictory set of ways. And to explore this, I did this series and I did a book that Princeton just published called "Lincoln on Race and Slavery."

CONAN: There is also, conflated in many people's minds, well, if he was opposed to slavery as he undoubtedly was, he must have been an abolitionist.

Dr. GATES: Right, and he wasn't an abolitionist. An abolitionist was a political term. It was like a branch of the Republican Party, and he wasn't. He was, at first, a gradual emancipationist. In 1858, he suggested that perhaps we should take 100 years ultimately to free the slaves. Now, I was born in 1950, and that means I would have been eight when the slaves finally were free. But as soon as he could, as soon as he could figure out a way after the Civil War started, he seized upon it and, through the Emancipation Proclamation, attempted to free the slaves in the Confederacy, not the slaves, of course, in the border states, which were part of the North.

CONAN: Mm hmm. Well, you talked about reading those 15,000 books. It must have taken a couple of weekends.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: But there was one thing you did read when you were in high school, an essay by the writer and historian Lerone Bennett Jr., titled "Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?" You interviewed him for the program, and here he is talking with you in the course of the documentary.

(Soundbite of documentary "Looking for Lincoln")

Mr. LERONE BENNETT JR. (Author, "Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream"): And I sat there and I read a little bit of it. Abraham Lincoln was saying that he didn't believe African-Americans should vote, sit on juries or hold office. I said, this can't be true; this is my man, Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. GATES: Amazing.

Mr. BENNETT: Amazing. So, I discovered everything I'd heard of that period about Abraham Lincoln was a lie.

CONAN: And in a sense, he is right.

Dr. GATES: In a sense, he's absolutely right, but it's also more complex, as I tried to show in the film, than even my friend Lerone Bennett...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: For Lerone, Lincoln has fallen off that pedestal and he is never going to get back up there again. But for me, Lincoln was at best, we might say, in today's parlance, a recovering racist.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: Lincoln wrestled with his own demons. And two things changed his mind, change his attitude, about the future of slavery and about the status of black people. One was the fact that the North was losing the Civil War. He needed extra bodies. Surprise, surprise, the Confederates brought their slaves with them to the frontlines, and the people in the North somehow were shocked that the Confederates did this. So, they had this unfair advantage; they had all this free labor helping them. And Neal, there were many free Negroes who live in the South. In fact, there were far more free Negroes that lived in the slave states than lived in the Northern states. And some of these free Negroes joined the Confederacy willingly. The work of an archivist in North Carolina named Earl Imes(ph) shows this very clearly. It's a shock to us, it's a shock to me, but they did.

So, how could Lincoln regain the competitive advantage over the Confederacy? He needed bodies. Well, if he could get these slaves free and get them behind Northern lines and arm them, authorize them to fight, maybe they could be the margin of difference. And Lincoln was quite skeptical about the capacity of black men to fight equally with white men. He met with antislavery ministers from Ohio on September 14th, 1862, just eight days before he signed the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. And he said, look, we can arm the blacks, but the guns would end up in white hands within a week or 10 days. Nonetheless, the situation was so desperate that when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, it included a provision allowing black men to fight. Now, we know black men fought in the American Revolution, which is how Charles Sumner and a man named William Casemore persuaded Lincoln to allow blacks to fight because Lincoln was big on precedent as a lawyer and he loved thinking about what the founding fathers had done.

And so, the Emancipation includes this provision and his black warriors, as he came to call them, fought nobly, and Lincoln remained loyal to them and committed to them up to the very last day of his life, to the last speech, in fact, that he gave. The other factor that changed his mind about racial equality was one splendid, noble individual name Frederick Douglass. Lincoln didn't know any intelligent black people. He knew Billy the Barber. He knew his personal servant, and I'm sure he had some sort of relationship with him, but until he met Frederick Douglass, he didn't have a relationship with an intellectual equal, a black man whose mind he respected. And he not only respected Frederick Douglass; he revered Frederick Douglass. Once he even sent for him in Rochester and then brought to the White House just to ask him his opinion about a measure that he was considering vis-a-vis the Emancipation Proclamation.

So, dealing with Douglass - he met with Douglass three times - helped Lincoln to change, so that ultimately, Lincoln, the day after the South capitulates, crowd comes to the White House, it's night time, and they're chanting Lincoln's name and demanding that he come out to give a speech. And so, he's on the second floor of the White House. He flings open the windows, comes out on the balcony, and he reads this speech and in the speech he says, for the first time in the history of the American presidency, he says that he favors giving the vote to a small group of black men. Now, not all black men; there were about 2.2 million black men in the United States at this time. But he favors giving the right to vote to the 200,000 black warriors of his, those black veterans, and quote/unquote, "the very intelligent Negros like Frederick Douglass."

And guess who's in the audience, guess who's standing on the grounds of the White House: John Wilkes Booth. And John Wilkes Booth turns to a man next to him - and we have his testimony - and he says, that means nigger citizenship and I'm going to run him through. That's a direct quote from John Wilkes Booth. So, the man who, as Lerone Bennett rightly says, in a speech at Charleston, Illinois, in 1858 says that he is an unalterably opposed to interracial marriage and giving black men the right to vote and serve as jurists, literally gives his life in April 1865 for depending and advocating the right of some black men to vote. It's a remarkable story, and that's the story that we told in "Looking for Lincoln," the film that airs tonight.

CONAN: Henry Louis Gates Jr., with us from our bureau in New York. 800-989-8255; email us, Paul's on the line calling from Toledo, Ohio.

PAUL (Caller): Yeah. I just had a few comments to say. I think when you consider Abraham Lincoln, we have to realize that first and foremost he was a politician. So, the things that he said in public and the claims that he made were to become elected, to become president. Seward, Chase and a lot of the more of radical abolitionists didn't stand the chance to become president, none of them did, because they were considered too radical.

CONAN: And that was why Abraham Lincoln was acceptable, was, in fact, the nominee of the Republican Party in 1860, Henry Louis Gates.

Dr. GATES: Yes, that's right. I mean, you're absolutely correct. Now, what the caller is saying is, look, cut the man some slack. He was just being strategic. But we know, we have enough private evidence, to know that what he sometimes said in public he also sometimes believed in private. He told friends darkly jokes. He used the N-word. He...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: In private referred to Sojourner Truth as "Auntie." He referred to some black man as "boy." He passionately, passionately wanted blacks who were freed voluntarily to remove themselves from the United States. We can't paper this over anymore. And again, you would think that, with all of the histories and biographies written about Abraham Lincoln, that these aspects of Lincoln would be common knowledge, but they're not. It's still a shock to people, and it was a shock to me.

CONAN: Paul, thanks very much for that call. Appreciate it. Got to run. We're talking with Henry Louis Gates Jr. about his new PBS documentary that airs tonight, "Looking for Lincoln." If you'd like to join us, was he your hero? Why, or why not? 800-898-8255; email us, I'm Neal Conan. It's the Talk of the Nation from NPR News.

(Soundbite of music)

CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Henry Louis Gates Jr. calls Abraham Lincoln America's man for all seasons. Over and over again, he wrote, Americans have reinvented Lincoln in order to reinvent ourselves. The Abraham Lincoln we see in Skip Gates' latest PBS special is a deeply flawed, complicated man. The two-hour program, "Looking for Lincoln," begins airing tonight on PBS stations. Is Abraham Lincoln your hero? Why, or why not? 800-989-8255; email You can join the conversation on our Web site, too. Just go to and click on Talk of the Nation. Here's an email from Christopher in Cork, Ireland: According to Howard Zinn in his "People's History of the United States," Lincoln continually offered to the Confederate states to drop the emancipation issue if they would only come back into the Union. He made these offers in several speeches as late as 1863. The man is a myth, is he not?

Dr. GATES: No, he made these gestures of concession until 1863. But after that, he said that there was no going back. Lincoln really did want to abolish the institution of slavery, but he wanted nothing more than keeping the Union together. And for - you have to remember, there were all these people dying around Lincoln. Remember when he gave the Gettysburg Address? The stench of death, reporters said, was in their nostrils. He could - there were still unburied bodies, piles of limbs around. It was horrible. And Lincoln had to live with - just think in our most recent war, we have just under 5,000 American deaths. There were 623,000 American deaths during the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln had to think about that every day. And so, you said that Lincoln was deeply flawed; I would say that he was deeply human, that he was deeply complicated, and what far too many historians have done is to reduce his complexity, to shave off his humanity and turn him into a marbleized myth, as it were. And I think - my favorite scene in the film, other than interviewing the Sons of the Confederacy...

CONAN: That was pretty good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: My favorite scene was in Kyle Westbrook's high school history class at Walter Payton School in Chicago, a class of graduating seniors and they were ethnically mixed, and they had been studying Lincoln in his true dimensions all semester. And I filmed there, and I asked them if this diminished their regard for Abraham Lincoln. And they said, it made them like Lincoln better, because they can imagine being Lincoln since he was so fully and richly human. And I like that interpretation, and I think that's where I ended up in the end. But it was a fraught process for me.

CONAN: Well, here it is, you're talking with Doris Kearns Goodwin, of course, the author of, among many other books, "Team of Rivals." But you're talking to her about the - well, with all the baggage that Lincoln brought with him into office and she, well, then replies to you.

(Soundbite of documentary "Looking for Lincoln")

Dr. DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Author, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln"): You know what's so interesting, Skip, in listening to you talk? The problem is not your understanding of what was possible for Lincoln; the problem is the infatuation, the myth, that Lincoln was presented in the first place to you. That's not Lincoln's fault.

Dr. GATES: Mm-hmm.

Dr. GOODWIN: It's not Lincoln's fault that he got mythologized. He was a human being. He wouldn't have wanted to be mythologized. And I think to just bring him down now to the human being with his strengths and his weaknesses, if you could feel that, as well as you're saying it...

Dr. GATES: Mm-hmm.

Dr. GOODWIN: I think you would feel more empathy for him.

Dr. GATES: No, but you're right...

CONAN: And you're a little bit unconvinced there.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: That was a turning point for me. I was so upset, so disappointed. Again, you know, you would think that a scholar would know all these about Abraham Lincoln. I just hadn't thought about Abraham Lincoln that much since Lerone Bennett; I encountered that essay when I was 18 years old, but I didn't have the scholarly apparatus to judge that. And then, my dear friend, unfortunately deceased, George Fredrickson, the great historian from Stanford, gave the Du Bois lectures at Harvard and he - the lectures were about Lincoln and race. So, I had to think about that. But plunging myself into this series really forced me to deal with, A, our understanding of Lincoln and, b, the historians who have created are understandings of Lincoln. And what Doris - the gift that Doris gave me in that conversation in her study that day was that I had my anger, my concern, was misdirecting. I was feeling very angry at Abraham Lincoln. How could you used the N-word, you know?

CONAN: Mm-hmm.

Dr. GATES: How could you embrace colonization? When really I should've been upset with the people who had, what, excluded this aspect of Lincoln's politics, his character, his personality, from their often very detailed and otherwise full accounts of who Lincoln was. And I think that it embarrassed them; It embarrassed some of the greatest scholars in American history to write about Lincoln in all of his complexity. And that's what we encountered making the film.

CONAN: Let's get Tom on the line, Tom with us from Tucson.

TOM (Caller): Yeah, hi. I'd like to know when Americans began to worship Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. GATES: Oh, that's interesting. Lincoln was shot on, you know, just after 10 o'clock on Good Friday. He died just before 7:30 on Easter Saturday. And by Easter Sunday, in pulpits throughout the North he is being deified; he is being called the American Christ, compared with Christ, so that the myth making actually began the weekend of assassination, but...

TOM: So, it began almost instantly.

Dr. GATES: It began almost instantly. But there have been many, many Lincolns. The other thing that I do in the series is I explore other myths of Lincoln. For instance, there's Lincoln the Great Emancipator, but there's Lincoln the White Supremacist. There's Lincoln the War Criminal for the Sons of the Confederacy. And there's a Lincoln the Savior of the Union and Redeemer. There's Lincoln the Warrior and Lincoln the Peacemaker, Lincoln the Melancholic, Lincoln the Humorist, Lincoln the Gay. There's a book that says Lincoln was gay, and Lincoln, the romantic heterosexual lover, really loved Ann Rutledge and only picked Mary Todd as consolation prize.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: I have a poster of famous thinkers in Western civilizations who are atheists, so - and Abraham Lincoln is right at the middle. So, there's Lincoln the Atheist.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: But there's Lincoln the Deist, or Lincoln the Proto-Christian or Ultimate Christian. And who's Fidel Castro's hero? It's Abraham Lincoln. So, there's Lincoln the Communist, Lincoln the Republican.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Dr. GATES: There's the African-American Lincoln and the Confederate Lincoln, Lincoln the Opportunist and Lincoln the Statesman, and Lincoln the Leader and Lincoln the Follower. And ultimately, perhaps, it's Lincoln the Unknown. Lincoln's myth is so capacious that each generation for Americans has been able to find its own image reflected in the mirror of Abraham Lincoln. So, in a way, all these Lincolns are a little bit true and - but none is adequate, none is complete. And as I said to Neal...

TOM: All those versions aside so that we would - and then as a culture, we began to focused on just one version, which is the kind of iconic hero of the Civil War.

Dr. GATES: Yes. But I think that it's important that we - I think that Abraham Lincoln was the greatest president in the history of the United States. I think it makes him more special to understand how far he came, how difficult it was, the depth of his melancholia, the depth of his depression, his doubt, his angst, his ambivalence about blacks, all of that, his difficulties with his wife, all of that makes him a much richer historical figure than the one-dimensional, mythic, transcendent subject that we were raised on.

CONAN: Tom, thanks very much.

TOM: Thank you.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Let see if we can go now to Margie, Margie calling from Portland, Oregon.

MARGIE (Caller): Yes, Dr. Gates had said a lot of what I originally called to say about making Lincoln into a whole person makes him more interesting, more fascinating, more appealing, more human. But I'm also reminded of something I recently learned, another irony that makes me still love the Statue of Liberty in the same way that I still love Lincoln knowing what I know now about what Dr. Gates has told us today. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated by Calvin Coolidge in 1924 in the very same year that he signed a bill restricting immigration and keeping out many of the people that the Statue of Liberty stands as an emblem for inviting in.

CONAN: That's true, but there are no great statues of Calvin Coolidge on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

MARGIE: I know, but what I'm talking - I'm not talking about Calvin Coolidge. I'm talking about the Statue of Liberty as a symbol...


MARGIT: Of welcoming and Lincoln as a symbol of emancipation. I don't personally believe that either of them lose their strength of appeal or of richness simply when you look at the fuller truths around them. I think that they, as Dr. Gates has said, they gain in richness when you look at them more closely and learn the broader truth in which they're set, because we're all human and the United States is flawed and Lincoln was flawed, and that's something that we should all really just value, is how complex we are as humans and as a nation.

Dr. GATES: Well, it's - there's a very interesting moment in the film when I'm interviewing my friend, Harold Holzer. I bring three historians together for a dinner. I give them a lot of wine because I was trying to loosen up their tongues.

(Soundbite of laughter)

G: And James Horton and David Blight and Harold Holzer, who's published over 30 books about Abraham Lincoln, very dear man, dear friend. And Harold, quoting Cuomo...

CONAN: Mario Cuomo.

Dr. GATES: Mario Cuomo. All I can think of is Andrew because of the recent discussions about the Senate -Quoting Mario Cuomo says, we should keep some myths pure, and Lincoln's is one those myths because then a new president will aspire to be better than they are. And perhaps there is something to that, but I think it's much better to tell the story in a 21st-century way in all of its complexity.

CONAN: Just given what you were just talking about, it seems to me, watching your film the other night, that what you came away with was an appreciation not for Lincoln's opinions or his positions upon being elected president, but for his capacity for growth.

Dr. GATES: Absolutely. And I think that few of us have a genuine capacity to confront our own weaknesses in thought and feeling and master them, overcome them, and change. And here's what I think attracts Barack Obama to Abraham Lincoln and, I think, would attract, ultimately, Abraham Lincoln to Barack Obama, which is their pragmatism, that both are fundamentally improvisatory pragmatists. Both can read a situation brilliantly, assess the currents and move with it. And I think that Barack is a genius that and I think Lincoln was a genius of that.

CONAN: And neither are radicals.

Dr. GATES: No. My God, the most radical thing about Barack Obama is that he's black. Barack Obama is a centrist, slightly left of center, but he certainly a centrist. He's very secure in the center, surrounds himself of people on the left and the right, slightly left of center, slight right of center, and he holds the middle ground. And I think the American people were quite ready for a president like that. I know I was.

CONAN: Margie, thanks very much for the call. We're talking with Henry Louis Gates Jr. His two-hour PBS documentary, "Looking for Lincoln," begins to air tonight on many public television stations around the country. He's the director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard University, and you're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And I have to say that the most embarrassing single moment in my scholastic career was in fifth grade - and it was very embarrassing, which why I remember it so clearly - the teacher stood up in class and said, why did Abraham Lincoln continue to pursue and fight the Civil War? And every student in that class, including me, stood up and said, to free the slaves. And he kept going no, no, and none of us could come up with the right answer. As you pointed out, his goal in the Civil War was not to free the slaves. That was an issue that he used to his benefit, at the moment it could be used to his benefit. The issue was to preserve the Union.

Dr. GATES: Absolutely. Lincoln didn't think that the president, that the executive, had the power unilaterally to free the slaves, and that's why the Emancipation Proclamation reads like a legal brief because, in effect, it is. He thought that the only way that he could free the slaves was through War Powers Act, was through the fact that you could confiscate the enemy's property. And literally, under Southern law or under American law, really, the slaves were property, of course, and they were the property of the enemy after the South seceded. And that was the grounds.

That's why he said he couldn't free the slaves in the border states, but the real reason is that if he freed the slaves in the border states, they would have fled the Union and joined the South, and he couldn't lose Kentucky; he couldn't lose Maryland; he certainly would have lost the war. And that reminds me of how moving it was for me to go to the Sons of the Confederacy, and how humorous, in a way. I asked the officers, very subtle men, who run the Sons of the Confederacy, how they felt about Abraham Lincoln. And they said they thought he was the biggest war criminal in history, that he should be tried posthumously for war crimes of the Nuremberg Conventions, and that he should be chiseled off Mount Rushmore. And I knew that there was more than one Lincoln confronting me as I went about making this film.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Let's get one last caller. This is Gary, Gary with us from Wilmington, North Carolina.

GARY (Caller): Hi. Yes, I was - first, I was very stunned when I first heard about the possibility of Lincoln being a racist. But then I start to think a little deeper, and what I came was a comparison to the late Malcolm X. And what I mean by that is, well, what if I were white? And sometimes history works in reverse for some people. But what if I would have known or been introduced to Malcolm in his last days of his life as he made the pilgrimage to Mecca and, you know, found out that, you know, all people were equal and that he should love his brother no matter what color he is? You know, if I'd been introduced to that Malcolm X, then I would have thought that Malcolm was - never had a racial tension or hate for white people in his body.

Dr. GATES: Right.

GARY: And you know - but we know the full story of Malcolm and that he did have distain or dislike for whites early on just because he hadn't evolved, just like Lincoln had evolved in - had natural biases for himself early on and he had this pressure around him with slavery that was something that was very common. To go against that makes him even a greater man to have reached the level to know that it was not just and it was not right, just as Malcolm, later in his life, had, you know, found that his beliefs were not right and not just, but he evolved to come to the understanding that it was about equality for all people.

Dr. GATES: Absolutely. The beauty of the autobiography of Malcolm X is this arc, this amazing transformation from the depths of despair, life of crime, imprisoned, then he becomes a Muslim, a member of the nation of Islam, he hates white people, he calls the white man a devil, and then he repudiates those attitudes, becomes an Orthodox Muslim, makes the hajj or the pilgrimage to Mecca, and announces that he can embrace people of all colors, all religions, all ethnicities. It's beautiful, and in effect, that is the way Abraham Lincoln was moving vis-a-vis black people. A man, who - deeply ambivalent about racial equality and its impossibility, ends his life defending the right of black men to vote. That's a remarkable story, and it's a story that should be told.

CONAN: Gary, thanks very much for the call. Not an analogy that would have leapt to my mind.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CONAN: Appreciate it. And Skip Gates, thank you so much, and good luck with the movie and with the book.

Dr. GATES: Hey, thank you. Thanks for having me on the program again.

CONAN: Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research at Harvard. The documentary, "Looking for Lincoln," begins airing tonight on many PBS stations. Check local listings for details. Coming up, President Obama expands the controversial White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and some want to know, where is the line between church and state? Eboo Patel, the only Muslim appointed to the advisory council, joins us. Talk of the Nation, NPR News.

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