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African-American Lives40:05

This article is more than 13 years old.

Oprah Winfrey didn't know. Quincy Jones didn't know. Whoopi Goldberg didn't know. Even Henry Louis Gates Jr. - academia's "Captain Africa," the man who edited the continent's encyclopedia — didn't know where his family, its genealogy and its genetics really traced to.

Like millions of African-Americans, their family stories, their family trees, were lost in the apocalypse of slavery. Names, lost. Countries of origin, lost. Trails of paternity lost and hijacked by slave owners.

Now, with a lot of research and new genetic science, Oprah and Whoopi and Quincy and Skip Gates and many more are discovering family trees and big surprises.


Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Professor of Humanities, Harvard University.

This program aired on February 7, 2006.

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