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Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own
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Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own

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by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
 

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Prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., traced Oprah’s roots and shares the lessons of her ancestors—the legacy one generation bequeaths another, how who we are is influenced by the paths our ancestor have trod, and the extraordinary impact that even the most humble among us can have on future generations through the simple process of

Overview


Prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., traced Oprah’s roots and shares the lessons of her ancestors—the legacy one generation bequeaths another, how who we are is influenced by the paths our ancestor have trod, and the extraordinary impact that even the most humble among us can have on future generations through the simple process of building a life for our loved ones.

In Finding Oprah’s Roots, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., shines a searchlight into the shadows that have enveloped African American ancestry. By assembling an elite team of historians and geneticists in coordination with his well-received PBS documentary and using Oprah and her forebears as his chief example, Gates unveils a process akin to resurrection.

Literally, those who were denied identity—nameless slaves who died believing their ancestors would never know them—have their identities restored here through a dazzling array of search methods. Acting as a roadmap through the intricacies of public documents and online databases, this book also highlights genetic testing resources that can make it possible to know one’s distant tribal roots in Africa.

Oprah’s path back to the past was profoundly illuminating, connecting the narrative of her family to the larger American narrative and “anchoring” her in a way not previously possible. For the reader, Finding Oprah’s Roots offers the possibility of an equally rewarding experience.

Editorial Reviews

This helpful book serves as the companion book to the sequel to Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s popular PBS series African American Lives. Gates uses Oprah Winfrey's search for her ancestors as an example of how African Americans can discover their own roots. The renowned Harvard professor combines a deep understanding of Diaspora history with sound practical advice about genealogical research.
Library Journal

Professor Gates has created an excellent guide for all would-be genealogists in this companion piece to the PBS documentary Oprah's Roots. From beginning to end, Gates uses clear examples to provide listeners with a solid framework for conducting their own genealogical expedition. This work has special significance for African American researchers as it delves into the challenges of tracing slave ancestors prior to the end of the Civil War and emancipation. The author emphasizes the importance of gathering and confirming as much oral history as one can and cites excellent print and online tools. Gates notes that trips to historical societies and cemeteries can be invaluable, but getting started in genealogical research doesn't have to be expensive. As one of the most popular and influential women in the world today, it is fascinating to learn about Oprah's family, her childhood, and the accomplishments of her forebears. Gates successfully emphasizes the importance of accurate research as he relates how a team of historians and geneticists were able to trace Winfrey's lineage back to Africa. Narrator Dominic Hoffman executes this gem of a book with a comfortable and polished delivery. Highly recommended for all public libraries.
—Valerie Piechocki

From the Publisher

“This book is every bit as engaging as the documentaries and offers helpful resources.” —Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307382382
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
01/23/2007
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.85(d)

Meet the Author


Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the author or co-author of twenty-one books and has created fifteen documentary films, including Finding Your Roots, his groundbreaking genealogy series on PBS.

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Finding Oprah's Roots: Finding Your Own 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
oldsckeptic More than 1 year ago
I have been studying Oprah Winfrey for over 3 years, and have bought most of her biographies, published since the 1980s.
The big question was since 1953; according to both the LEE family and the WINFREY family and Oprah herself.
IS VERNON WINFREY HER BIOLOGICAL FATHER?
Professor Gates mentions doing DNA research with Oprah's DNA, with results being studied from her maternal line of markers.
Did they not do a check with Vernon's DNA? to see if she is his daughter, before doing a book about her ancestry.
Seems necessary in this case; very basic research before doing this book.
Yet Gates does not mention Vernon at all, neither confirming or denying if he is in fact Oprah's father... very strange!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago