Prominent African American scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., traced Oprah’s roots and shares the lessons of her ancestorsthe 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 identitynameless slaves who died believing their ancestors would never know themhave 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.
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About 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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Excerpted from "Finding Oprah's Roots"
Copyright © 2007 Henry Louis Gates.
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Table of Contents
Part 1 Beginnings 19
Part 2 Oprah 39
Part 3 Into the Past 63
Part 4 Out of Slavery: A Paper Trail 97
Part 5 Beyond the Middle Passage: DNA 143
Part 6 Looking Back 165
Appendix / Resources for Building Your Family Tree 173