Discovering Your Roots


I find family trees fascinating and have done some genealogy of family members.  My search is a little more difficult with tracing ancestors as an African-American and not always able to find documentation.  Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has filmed two documentaries  lives of individuals like Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Morgan Freeman, Tina Turner, Chris Rock to name a few.  However, I think everyone should trace their family history as it is important to understand who you are as an individual. Believe or not every person has an interesting story.  My father has told me stories of my great grandmother, great aunts and great uncles.  I had a great aunt who was an opera singer in New York City, and my great uncle (who I met as a little girl) was a pastor of a church in New Jersey.  I also discovered a possibility of one of my descendants coming from Turkey, but need to conduct some more research to check the accuracy.

With viewing African American Lives, the participants have an opportunity learn about lives and discover what it means to them.  Don Cheadle, the actor learned that his ancestors did not become free people in 1865 as they were slaves of Chickasaw nation which was a nation within the United States and under no legal obligation to free their slaves.  It was until 1880 when the United States told the Chickasaw nation to free the slaves, freed blacks were not given citizenship as Chickasaw and were not US citizenship until Oklahoma became a state in 1907.  What people uncover about their histories gives them a connection to the past, and a clearer way of going into the future with a different perspective.  It also does not matter what ethnic group you are, make the time to discover your roots and a great excuse to you create a scrapbook of your family tree.

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