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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

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Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities.... See full summary »
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Series cast summary:
Henry Louis Gates Jr. ...  Self - Host / ... 51 episodes, 2012-2020


Harvard educator Henry Louis Gates Jr. hosts this enlightening PBS series that examines "the DNA of American culture" through an extensive discovery of the ancestors of today's celebrities. In each episode, a set of featured guests view their ancestral histories, learn connections, and discover secrets about their lineage, while sharing the emotional experience with viewers. Gates guides them as they see results and details derived from the background work competed by expert genealogical diagnosticians, who have analyzed genetic code and traced bloodlines that leads to documentation and the occasional confirmation or debunking of long-held beliefs. A variety of guests have included musicians, authors, chefs, and more. Actors who've made an appearance include Julianna Marguiles, Stephen King, Ben Affleck, Sally Field, Mia Farrow, Anderson Cooper, and many others. Written by writermaia

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Did You Know?


When Stephen King appeared on the show, he looked through a scrapbook very much like the one from It (1990), based upon his novel. See more »


Stephen King: I grew up interested in nightmares, scary stories and things that go bump in the night.
See more »


Featured in Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Uncovering America (2019) See more »

User Reviews

Loved it
17 February 2019 | by stormy724See all my reviews

I started to watch this a few days ago and couldn't stop watching. I laughed and I cried while learning about people I never knew existed and had no relationship to me.

Another reviewer complained that the program is not telling the whole story about slavery and our founding fathers. No historical record can tell the whole story. We get bits and pieces from various sources.

When I studied U.S. history in school ---I'm 73, as I write this ---no one mentioned that many of our founding fathers had slaves. I learned that information during the intervening years because I've read a lot of history and watched many documentaries. But for many, who don't read history, this may be new information.

I learned much myself from the episodes I watched. For example, I didn't know that freed slaves were often captured and placed back into slavery. I didn't know that some free slaves bought their relatives and had to keep them as legal slaves so they could not be put back into slavery by someone else. I also learned heartwarming stories of slave owners who freed their slaves and gave them property before the Civil War, which I assumed was extremely rare.

I was impressed at how many people were willing to give DNA samples that could possibly prove that their slave-owning ancestors fathered the children of slaves, thus completing some stories about certain branches of a family.

The one thing that everyone can take away from these episodes is that our genetic makeup is rarely pure. We are mostly a combination of ethnicities and races, and therefore racism is not only harmful but stupid. Most of us don't know where all of our ancestors began their lives and under what hardships they lived in order to make life better for their heirs. No matter where they cam from, they contributed to who we are now.

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25 March 2012 (USA) See more »

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Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. See more »

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