Joe Madison (05:03)
Madison, civil rights activist and talk show host, discusses how he started his radio career. He credits his grandfather, boxer turned garbage collector Jim Stone, for his work ethic. He rarely saw his parents as a child.
Ty Burrell (03:13)
Burrell, an actor, grew up in Appleton, Oregon in a supportive family. His father Gary had comedic talent and inspired him to pursue acting. He died when Ty was 22.
Family Racial Roots (04:32)
Burrell heard a family rumor that his maternal great-great-grandmother was African American. His great-grandfather George Weeks was listed as black, mulatto, and white in Oregon censuses. Oregon's African American population was less than 1% in 1900.
African American Ancestor (03:19)
Burrell's great-great-grandmother Susannah Weeks was a free person of color living in Tennessee in 1840. Census records show she traveled to Oregon, applied for a homestead in 1878, and was granted property ownership after five years.
DNA Search (06:35)
DNA tests show Felix Madison was biologically unrelated to Joe. Genetic genealogist Cece Moore matches Joe's Y-DNA to three brothers in Dayton, Ohio with the surname Haygood. Through his half-brother's DNA, Joe learns his biological father is Herman Haygood.
Tuskegee Syphilis Study (04:44)
Joe's biological father was born in Alabama in 1920 and settled in California. His grandfather Andrew Hagood participated in the medically unethical study of syphilis in African American men. He was nearly excluded due to his light complexion.
Genealogy Challenges (05:51)
Slaves were excluded from public records, but Gates identifies Susannah Weeks' mother as Nelly Mask. Her mother Jane, gave birth at 13 after being raped by her owner Dudley Mask—corroborated by DNA testing.
Global Admixture (02:18)
DNA shows that Burrell descended from a white plantation owner. Admixture tests divide DNA into percentages, showing regions where ancestors lived over 500 years. Burrell's DNA is 1.4% Sub-Saharan African.
Interracial Relationships (05:35)
The Macon County, Alabama census shows Joe's great-grandfather Lemuel Hagood was a white farmer. His great-grandmother, Emma Tompkins, was African American and lived next door to Lemuel. Lemeul was born in South Carolina and fought for the Confederacy.
American Revolution Ancestry (03:52)
Joe's fourth great-grandfather Samuel Clegg was born in 1740 and fought in the British Army. His regiment was captured by patriots in 1779; he was executed. Americans of all colors have more commonalities than differences.
Genetic Genealogy in Education (04:49)
Research shows Joe and Burrell have African American and white ancestors; Joe meets his biological half-siblings. Gates visits summer camp students using DNA tests to discover their ancestry and learn about their identity.
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