At a screening, series host Henry Louis Gates Jr. explains how he became obsessed with genealogy.
The Root was on location at a screening of an episode of the new PBS series Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
In the latest genealogy series hosted by the Harvard University professor, who is also The Root’s editor-in-chief, Gates unearths the mystery behind the family lineages of some of America’s most prominent figures. Among the black celebrities featured are actress Wanda Sykes, Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, civil rights legend and U.S. Rep. John Lewis, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, singer John Legend and actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Martha Stewart, Robert Downey Jr., Harry Connick Jr., Barbara Walters and Kevin Bacon are among the other luminaries profiled in the series.
Before the screening, Gates told us the story of how he was bitten by the genealogy bug as a 9-year-old boy after the 1960 funeral of his grandfather Edward St. Lawrence Gates. He said he was struck by how pale his light-skinned granddad appeared in the casket, and it made him curious to know more about how he got that way.
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SOURCE: The Root