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Video: Preview "Faces of America"

What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of the new PBS series Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The Harvard scholar turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans — professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

  • Kendrick D. Steele Sr.

    Mr. Gates,

    I thank you so much for doing this. It is so important for everyone from every culture to know there ancestry. It is vital for Black Americans in particular to know our rich ancestry. It is key for us to put to rest all of the myths about us coming from a savage people when that is simply not the case. I have started posting black history facts on my Facebook page because I feel so strongly about this. I am going to purchase this DVD for my collection. Thank You so much.

    Kendrick D. Steele Sr.

  • Bridget King

    Mr. Gates:
    I want to know if I am mixed. I know that I have African-american blood as well as Blackfoot blood. When I was a baby I was light skin with naturally curly hair and at some point in time it turned red. I have three boys. My oldest is very dark, and have dark brown eyes. Very rare you see that in African-american men. My middle boy, is lighter than me, and he has hazel brown eyes. When he was a 1 years old, his hair turned a blonde fiery red. And now, its dark brown with slight blonde in it. And the hair on his arms are blonde. My baby boy was a nice brown color, with naturally curly hair. My hair I’ve noticed as I age, is fine. And everytime I try to dye it, it gets very thin in the middle and front. I have asked my mother was I mixed she said No. There has been different stories about who my father is. And the man who she said was my father, said that he was not my father, and he is deceased. I heard another story about my mom. I heard that she claimed that the Insurance man raped her. My mother and I do not have a close relationship at all. Everytime she would see me, she would say, she couldn’t stand to look at me, I look just like him. Who ever the him was. When I get a sun tan, my skin goes darker, and in a couple of days it goes back to the original color it was before. A true black person goes out in the sun, and they get a tan and they remain dark. Also, when I do get some sun. The sun make me so sick and weak, just in one day only. What do you think?

  • Walter LeFlore

    Bridget King why does it matter?

    I sent off for a DNA test. Afterwards I was contacted by this research group saying my DNA had matched some Native American tribe in North Carolina.

    Who cares?

    I never did a followup.

    Isn’t it strange that now everyone is “PART NATIVE-AMERICAN”?

    Go figure


    Why did I have the DNA thingy done? I wanted to know if I were blood related to people I attended high school with. Problem is most if not all would spend the couple hundred bucks to have their DNA done. I wanted to know my connection to the African-Americans I grew up with not some Native-American I never met. If we were brought here and landed at the slave markets in Charleston or 1 or two other distinations before we were sold … there is a good chance I’m related to the people I knew growing up.

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