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Thread: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

  1. #51
    FORT Fogey
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I caught the Jeter section of the show and it was very well done. Gates, as a teacher, is very good at leading the guest into drawing conclusions rather then telling him.
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  2. #52
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I saw Anderson Cooper, Ken Burns and a third lady whose name escapes me. Gates did a great job in showing how the three families had stories that were linked somewhat during the Civil War. Really interesting program.
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  3. #53
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    That was Anna Deavere Smith, an actress and writer. She's currently on Nurse Jackie. I loved all three stories and Gates is wonderful!
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Quote Originally Posted by Punkin View Post
    That was Anna Deavere Smith, an actress and writer. She's currently on Nurse Jackie. I loved all three stories and Gates is wonderful!
    She also won the Pulitzer for one of her plays. She was on The West Wing in a recurring role for while too. I love her. A friend and I were commenting last night about how strongly she resembles her mother in the pictures they showed.

    I'll admit to having the same feelings of dread about not knowing if any of my ancestors owned slaves. You never want to see your ancestor's name on a slave schedule. At least I don't.
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    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

  5. #55
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Both men showed sadness at the news of family members owning slaves....although Burns was almost angry. Since my American famly tree starts after 1900, I mercifully have been saved from those revelations.

  6. #56
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    All families owned slaves at one point or another before the civil war. Even my family did, and my family was key in fighting against slavery in Kansas.

    I am quite proud of my family history during the civil war. But if I go back before that, they all had slaves. It was just what everyone did back then, disgusting as that is.

    It would be much harder to accept if your family was on the confederate side of the war.
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  7. #57
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Quote Originally Posted by jaytwo View Post
    All families owned slaves at one point or another before the civil war.
    That's a rather sweeping statement and not true if we are talking about the African slave trade to the Americas, largely facilitated by the British. Slavery was more rare in the New England states because the land was not amenable to large plantation style planting like in the South and a great many did not own slaves. My father, as a child, emigrated from Denmark in the '20s with my grandparents (Denmark-Norway were the first European countries to ban the slave trade) and my mother's ancestors came from New England to SF in the 1800's. I don't feel like I have any connection to the African slave trade.

    No one born in this era need feel responsible for American slavery, regardless of whether your ancestors were slave holders. And slavery may be dead in this country, but there is a lingering residual effect of the oppression of Blacks, post slavery, in especially the South where Whites are actively trying to deny Blacks the right to vote. But all over this country there are cities where Blacks are largely concentrated to their own poor neighborhoods (ghettoes) and for these people, many with no hope or resources to break out, that dark American past continues to haunt their lives and daily struggles. This is where I feel a twinge of White guilt.
    Lynda

  8. #58
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    I agree that it's a bit of a generalization to say that everyone has a slaveholder somewhere in their genealogy. As has already been pointed out, in terms of American slaveholders, not everyone who is an American citizen had relatives who immigrated to the United States prior to 1865, and obviously those of African-American descent may be the descendants of slaves, as opposed to slaveholders, though some may be the descendants of both. In addition, not everyone who could have owned a slave did, either because he/she objected to the practice (e.g. the Quakers) or because he/she simply couldn't afford even a single slave, even if he/she wished to own one. Hate to put it on a financial level like that, but it's the truth. There were, for instance, a lot more poor, small farmers in the south than there were plantation owners who could afford hundreds of slaves, just as there are fewer fabulously wealthy people than there are poorer people today.
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  9. #59
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Ok, I stand corrected. But it is true that anyone who was able to have a slave and had the use for one, did have one.

    In other words, back then there were not people making a stand and saying how wrong it was. It was accepted. As horrible as it was, it was accepted. And then those great leaders went to battle in the civil war to change all of that.

    So while I can see that we would all wish none of our ancestors had slaves, I don't think that being angry about it makes much sense.

    I am just happy that all of that is ancient history.
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    Re: Finding Your Roots (PBS) and other genealogy shows

    Quote Originally Posted by jaytwo View Post
    Ok, I stand corrected. But it is true that anyone who was able to have a slave and had the use for one, did have one.

    In other words, back then there were not people making a stand and saying how wrong it was. It was accepted. As horrible as it was, it was accepted. And then those great leaders went to battle in the civil war to change all of that.

    So while I can see that we would all wish none of our ancestors had slaves, I don't think that being angry about it makes much sense.

    I am just happy that all of that is ancient history.
    Sorry, I'm going to disagree with you on that point too. There were PLENTY of abolitionists (including Quakers, as someone mentioned upthread) speaking out against slavery in this country, who certainly had the financial means and need for a slave. Slavery, like most things, just isn't something you can make absolute statements about. It's not as simple as all that.

    There were successful abolitionist movements in many other countries before our Emancipation Proclamation. Heck, abolition came in many of our northern states following the American Revolution. While slavery certainly is on the list of factors leading to the Civil War, it's intertwined with many others.

    Yeah, I majored in History

    I'm enjoying how they're grouping the subjects of the show thematically. While I, of course, knew Ben Affleck and Khandi Alexander as well, I wasn't as familiar with Ben Jealous. Really interesting families. I had no idea that Ben Affleck's mom was such an activist.

    I was surprised to see how petitie Khandi is. I've always thought of her as a taller woman. It must be her presence. Seeing her walking next to Skip Gates in this episode made me hit up Google to see how tall she is (5'4"). I always loved her on News Radio as the perfect foil to Phil Hartman.

    David Sedaris just posted on his FB that he will be on this show in November! I love him and his sister. I can't wait to see his episode! The other subjects of that episode will be Tina Fey and George Stephanopolous.
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    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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