Finding Your Roots Season 1

Season 1

Finding Your Roots Season 1

First Air Date: March 24, 2012

First Aired on    :   2012
Episodes    :   10 episodes



Episodes

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1x10 Adrian Grenier, Michelle Rodriguez and Linda Chavez (May 20, 2012)


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 ...


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1x09 John Legend and Wanda Sykes (May 13, 2012)


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.


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1x08 Martha Stewart, Margaret Cho and Sanjay Gupta (May 06, 2012)


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.


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1x07 Samuel L. Jackson, Condoleezza Rice and Ruth Simmons (April 29, 2012)


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. In this episode we will use DNA to investigate family mysteries: where do they come from in Africa, and who are the white men in their family trees?


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1x06 Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal (April 28, 2012)


Many American descend from a dense soups of European ethnicities; we could call them mutts, with ancestral roots across every country in Europe. Actors Robert Downey, Jr. and Maggie Gyllenhaal are textbook examples of Americans with a rich tapestry of European immigrant stories making up their family trees. We delve in to their deep American roots in early colonial communities, and we meet their Eastern European Jewish ancestors, who share almost identical migration stories From the Mayflower to Ellis Island, we journey through centuries of immigration that shaped and built our melting pot nation.


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1x05 Rick Warren, Angela Buchdahl and Yasir Qadhi (April 14, 2012)


Pastor Rick Warren, Rabbi Angela Buchdahl and Sheik Yasir Qadhi are of three different faiths, all with complex family histories that profoundly shaped their religious beliefs. Our research of their roots unearthed a story about the spiritual foundations of this country, an unrelenting struggle to achieve our ideal of religious freedom and tolerance, but also the difficulties sometimes of holding onto one's faith and still feeling like an "authentic" American.


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1x04 Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon (April 07, 2012)


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. We reveal this fact - and many others - to Sedgwick and Bacon in this episode, and learn quite a bit about slavery in the North in the process.


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1x03 Barbara Walters and Geoffrey Canada (April 01, 2012)


What's in a name? Well, a lot, at least when it comes to piecing together your 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 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, we unearth 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 of them had been unable to access their history... until now.


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1x02 John Lewis and Cory Booker (March 24, 2012)


In this episode, we feature 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 of them knows much about their own ancestors. In this episode, we introduce Booker to his white great-grandfather, a man he never knew, and move Lewis to tears over the extraordinary ambitions and accomplishments of his slave ancestors..


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1x01 Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. (March 24, 2012)


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, we trace the turbulent and contradictory history of the city of New Orleans through the family stories of these two fascinating men.




Season Regulars