Monday, September 29, 2014

PBS- Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Season 2

Despite all of the reminders, we missed Finding Your Roots on Tuesday night.  Presented and written by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., this series journeys deep into the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals and provides new understanding of personal identity and American history.  The show airs on Tuesday nights at 7 pm in Houston but check your local listings to be sure.

On Wednesday night we were able to watch the full episode online at the website for the show.  We have another conflict this Tuesday night so being able to watch the show online is especially convenient.   Henry Louis Gates has been producing some of the best genealogy related television over the last several years so I highly recommend watching this show live if you can or on the web if you prefer.
Since the premiere of his groundbreaking series African American Lives (2006) through the first season of Finding Your Roots (2012), noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.  has been helping people discover long-lost relatives hidden for generations within the branches of their family trees.  Professor Gates utilizes a team of genealogists to reconstruct the paper trail left behind by our ancestors and the world’s leading geneticists to decode our DNA and help us travel thousands of years into the past to discover the origins of our earliest forebears.

The first episode of Season 2 featured novelist- Steven King, actor- Courtney Vance and actor/singer- Gloria Reuben.  The common theme for all three guests was that they did not know their fathers and were cut off from their family history on their paternal lines.  All three guests also had ancestors that were profoundly affected by slavery.  It was a fascinating episode with many exciting discoveries.

If you are a sports fan, you will enjoy this week’s episode which premieres September 30th at 8PM EST (check local listings).  Episode 2 features three of America’s greatest athletes whose determination and love of sports were deeply shaped by their families, but who were all cut off from their true origins.

  • Billie Jean King learns the true story of her grandmother, who had always kept the secret of her orphan birth.
  • Derek Jeter confronts his own ancestors’ lives as slaves and discovers that they were owned by a white man named James Jeter – the source of the Jeter name and Derek’s 3rd great-grandfather.
  • Rebecca Lobo finds out that her Spanish ancestor fought side by side with a famous revolutionary and was forced to flee Spain because of his democratic ideals.
  • All are also reunited with the foundation of their American roots through the stories of immigrant ancestors who courageously set out across the Atlantic to build a new life.
The Finding Your Roots website has some tremendous resources for teachers on the "CLASSROOM" link.

Don’t forget to check out the website for extra features and to watch full episodes from the previous season.

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