Finding Your Roots, Season 1HDClosed Captioning
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This 10-part series, with renowned cultural critic and Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., journeys deep into the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals and provides new understanding of personal identity and American history. Featuring Kevin Bacon, Cory Booker, Angela Buchdal, Geoffrey Canada, Margaret Cho, Harry Connick Jr., Robert Downey Jr., Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend, John Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Yasir Qadhi, Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Wanda Sykes, Ruth Simmons, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters and Rick Warren.
|1||HDClosed CaptioningVideoHarry Connick, Jr. and Branford Marsalis||Their European immigrant ancestors blazed unconventional trails in America, from capturing British ships for the American Revolution to crossing racial barriers in slave-era Louisiana. Generations later, as children growing up in New Orleans, Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis found a deep and abiding friendship through their common love of jazz and of the city itself. In this hour, trace the turbulent and contradictory history of the city of New Orleans through the family stories of these two fascinating men.||53:17||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|2||HDClosed CaptioningVideoCory Booker and John Lewis||This program features two African-American politicians from different generations and opposite backgrounds. John Lewis grew up in a sharecropping family in rural Georgia, while Cory Booker was raised in an affluent, all-white New Jersey suburb. Although both men have devoted their lives to the betterment of African-American people, neither knows much about his own ancestors. In this episode, Booker is introduced to his white great-grandfather, a man he never knew, and Lewis is moved to tears over the extraordinary ambitions and accomplishments of his slave ancestors.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|3||HDClosed CaptioningVideoBarbara Walters / Geoffrey Canada||What’s in a name? Well, a lot, at least when it comes to piecing together family history. For former slaves, choosing a last name was one of their first acts of freedom. For Jewish immigrants, it was a way to fit in in their new country. Whatever the reason for a name change, it can make the process of learning about one’s ancestors difficult, if not impossible. In this episode, Gates unearths missing links in the family histories of media legend Barbara Walters and educational superstar Geoffrey Canada. Walters did not know her father’s real last name. Canada did not know the name of his grandfather. Both had been unable to access their history … until now.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|4||HDClosed CaptioningVideoKevin Bacon / Kyra Sedgwick||What do Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick have in common? They are both famous actors and both descend from prominent American families that have been in this country since its inception. But they share something else, too: Both had ancestors who were early opponents of slavery. Bacon’s Quaker ancestors repudiated slavery long before the rest of the country, in 1780. And Sedgwick’s ancestor Theodore Sedgwick argued the freedom case of Elizabeth Freeman, also known as “Mumbet,” in 1781 — which helped bring an end to slavery in Massachusetts. These facts – and many others – are revealed to Sedgwick and Bacon in this episode, revealing quite a bit about slavery in the North in the process.||53:46||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|5||HDClosed CaptioningVideoAngela Buchdahl / Rick Warren / Yasir Qadhi||Pastor Rick Warren, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and Sheik Yasir Qadhi — clerics of three different faiths — all have complex family histories that profoundly shaped their religious beliefs. Research of their roots unearthed a story about the spiritual foundations of this country, an unrelenting struggle to achieve the ideal of religious freedom and tolerance, but also the difficulties sometimes of holding onto one’s faith and still feeling like an “authentic” American.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|6||HDClosed CaptioningVideoMaggie Gyllenhaal / Robert Downey, Jr.||Many Americans descend from a variety of European ethnicities, with ancestral roots across every country in Europe. Actors Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal are textbook examples of Americans with a rich medley of European immigrant stories in their family trees. Delve into their deep American roots in early colonial communities and meet their Eastern European Jewish ancestors, who share almost identical migration stories. From the Mayflower to Ellis Island, journey through centuries of immigration that shaped and built this melting pot nation.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|7||HDClosed CaptioningVideoSamuel L. Jackson / Condoleezza Rice / Ruth Simmons||Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Brown University president, Ruth Simmons, have each climbed to the pinnacle of their profession, yet each started life as a second-class citizen in the Jim Crow south. DNA is used to investigate family mysteries: Where in Africa do they come from and who are the white men in their family trees?||53:46||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|8||HDClosed CaptioningVideoSanjay Gupta / Margaret Cho / Martha Stewart||The three guests in this episode are all children of first- or second-generation immigrants and share the peculiar burdens of that heritage. In an episode that crisscrosses the planet, from India to Korea to Poland, catch a glimpse of three distinct yet oddly overlapping experiences of families leaving their homes and becoming American.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|9||HDClosed CaptioningVideoJohn Legend / Wanda Sykes / Margarett Cooper||Most African Americans struggle to trace their ancestors beyond Emancipation; slavery erased names and family ties with brutal efficiency. But what about the descendants of the handful of free black people who evaded bondage during that terrible time? Musician John Legend and comedian Wanda Sykes discover the extraordinary stories of the free black ancestors they never knew about, while Professor Gates himself and his 98-year-old friend Margarett Cooper delve into the mysteries shrouding the free people of color in their family trees.||53:16||$2.99||View In iTunes|
|10||HDClosed CaptioningVideoMichelle Rodriguez / Adrian Grenier / Linda Chavez||Michelle Rodriguez, Adrian Grenier and Linda Chavez all share Spanish colonial roots, yet each views their own identity very differently. In this episode we ask what it means to be Hispanic-and find that the answer lies in the tangled histories of European, Native American and African peoples. Crisscrossing Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and the Southwest, Professor Gates reveals stories of ancestral Conquistadors, Indian rebels, and "Crypto-Jews" (Spanish Jews who converted to Catholicism to survive the Inquisition, yet continued to practice their religion in secret) - showing that the American experience has been shaped by people who were in the New World long before the Mayflower.||53:17||$2.99||View In iTunes|
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Another fine production by Professor Gates
For anyone familiar with "Faces of America" and "African American Lives", this series lives up to the high standard set by those ecxellent shows. Anyone interested in genealogy or history in general should watch as Dr. Gates sleuths out the the mysteries associated with famous and notable guests. I look forward to future episodes.