Ruth Simmons

Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons

Full Episode

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. reveals the ancestral pasts of actor Samuel L. Jackson, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Brown University President Ruth Simmons.

Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons

A Family of Sharecroppers

Brown University President Ruth Simmons grew up in a family of African-American sharecroppers. Sharecropping is a notorious system in which farmers pick cotton and live on someone else’s land for a share of the profits. But they had to pay such high charges for rent, they often fell into a cycle of debt.