Finding Your Roots
Presented and written by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., and based on the formats of "African American Lives" and "Faces of America," this series journeys deep into the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals and provides new understanding of personal identity and American history.
Born Champions (#202H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Three of America's greatest athletes, whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, were all cut off from their true origins. Billie Jean King learns the story of her grandmother, who had always kept her orphan status a secret. Derek Jeter confronts his ancestors' lives as slaves and learns that they were owned by a white man named James Jeter - the source of the Jeter name and Derek's third great-grandfather. Rebecca Lobo finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary and was forced to flee Spain because of his democratic ideals.
Our American Storytellers (#203H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Three iconic American storytellers have spent their lives chronicling the lives of others, while knowing almost nothing about their own family history. Ken Burns confronts the reality of his southern ancestors' role in the Civil War, including Confederate soldiers held captive and a slave-owning Virginian. Anderson Cooper, scion of one of America's most storied families, the Vanderbilts, longs to know more about his father's southern roots - including the story of an ancestor murdered by one his slaves. Anna Deavere Smith learns the story of her great-grandfather Basil Biggs, a free black man and former conductor on the Underground Railroad. All three guests' ancestors intersect at pivotal moments of American history.
We Come from People (#206H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Trace three guests' roots into the heart of slavery, revealing that there is no singular narrative and challenging preconceptions of an era that profoundly shaped our nation's sense of itself. Hip-hop artist Nas discovers a web of his slave ancestors and their intimate relationship with their slave master; award-winning actress Angela Bassett meets ancestors whose slave family tragedy is rivaled only by a triumphant emancipation story; and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett goes back in time more than 200 years to meet a formidable line-up of free people of color - all of them of trailblazers.
Our People, Our Traditions (#207H) Duration: 56:16 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
In this episode we learn about the ancestors of three celebrated Americans who not only share a Jewish heritage, but a history of perseverance in the face of withering opposition. Tony Kushner delves into the history of the Holocaust to discover his ancestors' fate; Carole King learns the origins of her family name and confronts the reality of the discrimination her ancestors faced in America; and Alan Dershowitz finds out that the first Hassidic synagogue in Brooklyn, started by his great-grandfather, played a secret role in WWII.
The British Invasion (#208H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: DVI)
Sally Field learns that she descends from William Bradford, who arrived on the Mayflower and helped his fellow Puritans establish their new lives in colonial America. Her ancestors sided with the British crown during the war for independence and paid the ultimate price. Deepak Chopra's family made a similar gamble while living under harsh British rule in India - his grandparents pledged their loyalty to the British in hopes of achieving a higher place in society, and his father chose to fight alongside British soldiers during WWII. Sting's ancestors, who fueled Great Britain's world dominance during the Pax Britannica by building its merchant ships and working in its coal mines, toiled under unbearable working conditions and Dickensian poverty.