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Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates, Jr: John Legend, Wanda Sykes and Margarett Cooper

Airs Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Wanda Sykes and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. during the filming of FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

Trace Your Family History

Online databases make it easier than ever to trace your own family history, and DNA testing allows for the type of deep research conducted for FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. These resources can help you get started.

Share Your Story

Everyone has a story. Whether it’s anecdotes about ancestors from generations past, or stories of recent relatives, each of us has a rich, unique genealogical heritage to share. Tell us your family story and read other family stories.

The basic drive to discover who we are and where we come from is at the core of the new 10-part PBS series FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., the 12th series from Professor Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

Filmed on location across the United States, the series premieres nationally Sundays, March 25 through May 20, 2012 at 8 p.m.

The series features Kevin Bacon, Cory Booker, Angela Buchdal, Geoffrey Canada, Margaret Cho, Harry Connick Jr., Robert Downey Jr., Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Samuel L. Jackson, John Legend, John Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Yasir Qadhi, Condoleezza Rice, Michelle Rodriguez, Kyra Sedgwick, Wanda Sykes, Ruth Simmons, Martha Stewart, Barbara Walters and Rick Warren.

Recording artist, concert performer and philanthropist John Legend has won nine Grammy awards and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
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Above: Recording artist, concert performer and philanthropist John Legend has won nine Grammy awards and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.

"John Legend, Wanda Sykes and Margarett Cooper" - Most African Americans struggle to trace their ancestors beyond Emancipation; slavery erased names and family ties with brutal efficiency. But what about the descendants of the handful of free black people who evaded bondage during that terrible time?

Musician John Legend and comedian Wanda Sykes discover the extraordinary stories of the free black ancestors they never knew about, while Professor Gates himself and his 98-year-old friend Margarett Cooper delve into the mysteries shrouding the free people of color in their family trees.

FINDING YOUR ROOTS is on Facebook.

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Finding Your Roots: John Legend’s Musical Beginnings

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Watch John Legend's Musical Beginnings on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Above: Music artist John Legend discusses his early musical beginnings and shows rare footage where he performs one of his earliest compositions.

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Finding Your Roots: Suing for Freedom

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Watch Suing for Freedom on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Above: Henry Louis Gates, Jr. learns about a friend's great, great, great grandmother, an 18th-century slave who sued her master for her own freedom.

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Finding Your Roots: Wanda Sykes on Her Early Stand-Up

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Watch Early Stand-Up Experience on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Above: Comedian Wanda Sykes recalls a poorly-received stand-up routine early on in her career.

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Extended Preview: Finding Your Roots

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Watch Extended Preview on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

Above: The basic drive to discover who we are is at the core of the new PBS series FINDING YOUR ROOTS WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.