The Root‘s editor-in-chief, Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., launched a PBS show that builds on the success of his African-American Lives, a series that traced the ancestry of famous black Americans. His latest series, Faces of America, uses the same potent combination of traditional genealogical research and advanced DNA techniques to explore the immigrant origins of 12 famous Americans.
Those who appear on the four-part program include chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
The Root has obtained clips from the program that will be posted on this site throughout Black History Month. These excerpts are from Gates’ interview with poet Elizabeth Alexander.