Finding Your Roots – Episode 6 “Black Like Me” airs tonight

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friend Henry Louis Gates, Jr. host of PBS’ Finding Your Roots.

Three African-American guests delve deep into their family trees, discovering unexpected stories that challenge our assumptions about black history. Find local listings here: http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/watch/tv-schedule/

Bryant Gumbel learns that his surname comes from a German Jewish community by way of his second great grandfather — a white man who arrived in America midway through the Civil War. He also learns that on a different line of his father’s family, his second great grandfather was a manumitted slave who signed up for the Confederate army in New Orleans, then changed sides when the Union arrived in his city.

Tonya Lewis-Lee, a descendant of free people of color going back centuries on her father’s side, learns about her mother’s unknown heritage, including her third great-grandfather, a slave who fought for the Union only to struggle with poverty later in life.

Suzanne Malveaux discovers that her roots include a black slave owner, a French-Canadian fur trader, and a Native American from the Kaskaskia tribe. Along the way, our guests are reminded that there is no universal African American narrative — that there are as many ways to be black as there are black people.

Here’s the preview:


 

Finding Your Roots | Episode Four “The Vanguard”

Featuring Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ava DuVernay and Janet Mock

Three guests who have helped to redefine Black America in the last decade find their identities challenged as they learn about their family origins.

Ava DuVernay traces her stepfather’s roots in Alabama — an inspiration for her breakout film Selma —to his third great-grandfather, a former slave who registered to vote in the same region where Selma took place; however, her biological roots place her family in the Haitian Revolution on the opposite side she expected: as white French slave owners fleeing the revolt.

Ta-Nehisi Coates follows the ancestry of his Black Panther father to Virginia, where his fourth great-grandmother saw the transition from slavery to freedom, and his mother’s family to Maryland, where his third great-grandmother had a very different experience of the slave era (she lived in freedom and became a successful property owner).

Janet Mock follows the Mock surname to Louisiana, where her third great-grandfather appears to have chosen the name of his white owner, and her maternal roots to Hawaii, where her second great-grandparents were farm laborers and her great-grandmother resisted U.S. encroachment on Hawaiian culture by refusing to learn English.

By placing their ancestors’ lives in the larger context of history, our guests gain a deeper appreciation for their family narratives and see how those narratives illustrate the diversity of the black experience— a diversity that is even reflected in their DNA.

Go to PBS.org/FindingYourRoots to catch up on last week’s episode, “Puritans and Pioneers” featuring Ted Danson, William H. Macy and Mary Steenburgen.

Finding Your Roots – Tonight on PBS

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Finding Your Roots.

Three mainstays of modern-day Hollywood discover family legacies that predate the United States itself.

Ted Danson learns of two Colonial ancestors who broke the mold: a Connecticut Revolutionary colonel who allowed his slave to buy his freedom, and famed iconoclast Anne Hutchinson, who was banished from Massachusetts Bay for her subversive religious views.

William H. Macy learns of his own family’s nonconformists — a Puritan punished for helping Quakers who went on to help purchase Nantucket, and a Confederate widow who committed pension fraud to attempt to regain the family’s financial stability.

Mary Steenburgen’s ancestors, too, refused to follow the script, including a rowdy drunkard who served under George Washington in the French and Indian War, and a Tennessee soldier who paid the price of siding with the Union by being sent to one of the Civil War’s most notorious prison camps.

Taken together, these diverse stories from the past show our guests how personal choices can change history.

CLICK this link to find info about local listings: http://www.pbs.org/weta/finding-your-roots/watch/tv-schedule

IMAGE: Henry-Louis-Gates-Jr.-Headshot-Courtesy-of-Ark-MediaMEET THE HOST
For more than a decade, renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has helped to expand America’s sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom, and compassion. Professor Gates has explored the ancestry of dozens of influential people from diverse backgrounds, taking millions of viewers deep into the past to reveal the connections that bind us all. Read Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s Full Bio Here.

Finding Your Roots – Season 4 debuts tonight on PBS

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following was just received from our friends at Finding Your Roots.

FindingYour Roots2017

Episode One “The Impression”
Featuring Bernie Sanders and Larry David

Two guests linked by one hilarious impersonation trace their roots from 1940s Brooklyn back to Jewish communities in Europe. Larry David discovers his German heritage by way of ancestors who settled in Mobile, Alabama in the mid-19th century — including one who became a slaveholding Confederate; Bernie Sanders gains greater understanding of his father’s dangerous childhood in Austrian Galicia during World War I.

Both guests discover what happened to the family members who were still in Europe during the Holocaust — Larry David’s grandfather lost nine siblings; Bernie Sanders’ uncle, a member of the Limanowa Judenrat, heroically went head to head with a Nazi officer. Through DNA testing, our guests learn that there is more to their uncanny likeness than they ever suspected.  Go to PBS.org/FindingYourRoots to watch full episodes after the premiere and to learn more about the guests.

Sanders gets emotional sharing story of Jewish relative who died in WWII
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was visibly moved to learn that one of his ancestors died fighting Nazis during World War II.
– The Hill

Larry David Shocked to Learn His Ancestor Was a Confederate Slave Owner
I
n the first episode of Finding Your Roots: Season 4, Larry David discovers a lot more than his shared ancestry with Bernie Sanders. Watch the premiere next week to find out more!
 The Daily Beast