"Finding Your Roots with
In this latest 10-part series, Gates explores the genealogical and genetic history of a diverse group of people, from entertainer
As I wrote about the earlier series, "African American Lives," which traced the African and slave roots of celebrities, including
It would be easy for Gates, whose political sympathies align with the Democratic left, to make these programs a partisan rant against historical and cultural injustice and the
Gates has become a modern-day
On Gates' program, those relatives are long dead. They are ghosts who have faded through generations of family history, leaving only stories handed down by word of mouth.
One of the most poignant moments in the current series is when
Shown the record of the sale, Rice soberly responds, "My great-grandmother was worth
Conservatives should love this series because it shows that despite incredible odds that argued against success, the subjects Gates profiles overcame overwhelming obstacles to achieve something significant. Long before the birth of our entitlement generation, we held these kinds of role models up to young people. The message was, "If they could overcome, so can you." That's what Rice's parents believed. On "Finding Your Roots," Rice said her parents told her that even though she might not have been able to drink a soda at the local Woolworths segregated lunch counter in 1963, she could be president of
She came close.
In an age when we change homes and jobs many times during our lifetimes and families are broken up because of divorce and other factors, finding one's roots is an important component to filling in ones family tree.
Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I headed? These are all fundamental questions to which every human being, regardless of race, gender or background, wants answers. Professor Gates provides these answers to the people he profiles, but his programs also encourage viewers to explore their own family histories so they can know more about themselves.
If you missed "Finding Your Roots" or any of Gates' other series, check your local
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