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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
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
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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
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is an Olympian athlete, and possesses three gold, one silver and two bronze medals in the heptathlon and long jump events. Named by Sports Illustrated For Women as the "Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century", Joyner set a world record in the heptathlon in 1988 that remains unbroken today.

Milestones in Jackie Joyner-Kersee's ancestry:

  • 1827 Gabriel Connor, Jackie Joyner-Kersee's great, great, great, great grandfather, is forced to move from Virginia to Tennessee when he becomes the property of his owner's son.

  • 1900 Drip Rainey and Ellen Collins, Jackie Joyner-Kersee's great, great grandparents are property owners in Mississippi after having lived as slaves under slavery.

  • 1962 Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee is born in East St. Louis, Illinois. In the same year, Malcolm X becomes national minister of the Nation of Islam and embraces a separatist philosophy that is markedly different from the nonviolent civil rights movement's integrationist stance.

  • 1984 Jackie Joyner-Kersee attends her first Olympic games. In the same year, Jesse Jackson becomes the second African American to make a bid for the presidency of the United States.

  • Put Jackie Joyner-Kersee'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