finding your roots

Basically Verla, You Are African

Verla Ann (Shirley) Chaddick August 2, 2012

On the National Geographic Journey of Man Expedition March/April 2012 I learned that my ancient mother did not leave Africa until slavery. Earlier on the trip I introduced myself to Spencer Wells with these words, “I’m Verla Chaddick. I’m an L3.” His response was, “That’s very interesting; we need to talk.”

When we met and Dr. Wells reviewed my DNA report, he said, “Basically, Verla, you are African”. To which I replied, “Of course we are all came from Africa.” He then revealed to me that my dear mother ancestor arrived in the New World, a slave, Spencer speculates from Angola.

I had no idea that slavery was a part of my grandmother’s history. I don’t know how many generations ago my African mother was enslaved , or the story of how she became a free person. There was never any mention of an slave ancestor, but then, as I think back on conversations with my grandmother, about our heritage, she was if not invasive, certainly not definitive. I would like to know more.

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About the Series

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 – May 20 at 8 pm ET on PBS (check local listings).

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