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Finding your roots is a new production of a 10 part series with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This is to be a continuation of Gates' quest to uncover and discover more of our pasts. These discoveries are sometimes surprising; sometimes disturbing, but for enlightened family members the knowledge is truly welcomed. Something about knowing who you are; about where you've come from.

Each episode features well-known people who are somehow, in some way connected. Henry Gates takes the viewer down the road in the discovery of a link between the two that has sometimes been hidden; is usually surprising and often times, life changing. The audience gets to experience the discoveries of Robert Downey Jr. through his mother's family all the way back into the 1400's. It's thrilling for him and almost as much for those watching as well.

Gates is the show's executive producer and he along with experts in genealogy and family ancestry scour through family histories and stories to find relatives and events the guests have never known. And after they have exhausted all of those avenues, they can then tap into the knowledge and expertise of geneticists and DNA diagnosticians. With a sampling of DNA these specialists can determine specific bloodlines and possibly debunk generations of misconceptions.

As a side treat the audience is encouraged to look into their own pasts. Gates gives plenty of incentive and enthusiasm for questioning families; poking through archives and generally keeping your eyes and ears open to the past. Sending in your own story might not get experts to pick up your trail for you, but it will put it out there for others to hear and possibly inspire a portion of their own tale. There are avenues of rich heritage out there ready to connect.

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Tuesday 8:00 pm EST on PBS
2 Seasons, 16 Episodes - Currently Airing
Family, History
8/10
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Finding Your Roots Full Episode Guide

  • From PBS - 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.

  • Exploring the ancestry of Tom Colicchio, Ming Tsai and Aarón Sánchez.

  • Exploring the ancestry of Ben Affleck, Ben Jealous (NAACP) and Khandi Alexander.

  • Examining the ancestry of Ken Burns, Anderson Cooper & Anna Deavere Smith.

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