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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Bliss Broyard
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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Linda Johnson Rice Don Cheadle Chris Rock Tom Joyner Peter Gomes Maya Angelou Morgan Freeman Jackie Joyner-Kersee Tina Turner Katheleen Henderson Bliss Broyard
Bliss Broyard is the author of My Father, Dancing (1999), a New York Times notable book of the year, and One Drop: My Father's Hidden Life -- A Story of Race & Family Secrets (2007). Her work has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and The Art of the Essay, and she is a frequent contributor to Elle Magazine and The New York Times Book Review. Broyard lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughter.

  • 1753 Etienne Broyard, Bliss Broyard's fourth great grandfather, arrives in New Orleans from La Rochelle, France, a white soldier in the French Royal Army. Approximately half of the 3,000 people living in New Orleans at this time are slaves.

  • 1855 Henry Antoine Broyard and Marie Pauline Bonnet, Bliss Broyard's great, great grandparents, marry in 1855. Pauline is a free person of color, and because marriage between blacks and whites is prohibited, Henry lists himself as "FPC," a free person of color, on the marriage license. Marie Pauline's family is among the 10,000 refugees from Saint Domingue, later renamed Haiti, who came to New Orleans after the colony's fight for independence.

  • 1862 Henry Broyard's regiment, the First Louisiana Native Guard Infantry, is the first black regiment in the Union Army to enter the Civil War in September, 1862.

  • 1920 Anatole Broyard is born in 1920. In 1927, Paul and Edna Broyard abandon New Orleans for Brooklyn, N.Y., bringing Anatole and his two sisters with them.

  • 1990 New York Times critic and essayist Anatole Broyard dies of cancer. His wife, Alexandra, tells his daughter Bliss and son Todd that their father is part black, descended from Creoles in New Orleans.

  • Put Bliss Broyard's life and ancestry in historical context with the Interactive Historical Timeline.


    Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
    The Coca-Cola Company Johnson & Johnson Buick
    KUNHARDT Thirteen/WNET New York