Finding Your Roots
The history of where you ancestors come from can bring a vision as
to why you are the person you are. I ran across a television show on PBS that is
titled “Finding Your Roots with historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. Finding
Your Roots examines the histories and
family genealogies of a number of well-known personalities. But 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
At first I thought that
this show was going to be a typical show that had some references to your past
but to my amazement this went deeper than you could imagine. It really hit the
core to why you are the way you are.
History, genealogy, and ancestry show who you are, where you originated
from and where you could possibly go in life. We as African American are faced with a
disadvantage with finding our genealogy history. First you must get past the “Big
Wall” as some may refer to it and that’s where most of us run into a problem.
To find out about your past you have to get past slavery where for centuries,
racists attempted to prevent us from connecting to our past. The system of
slavery was dedicated to preventing us from preserving any memories or family
history of Africa and our ancestors. Slavery was conceived to rob our people of
all family history and the most basic sense of self-knowledge.
Slave owners didn’t want their slaves building family trees. So
when slave owners had children with their slaves most of the time the slave
women had to take the name of their child’s father to the grave with them. Slave
owners didn’t want their slaves to marry or maintain deep, abiding relations
with their mothers and fathers, their grandparents or their siblings. This is still
causing a problem today. My generation is still searching for that sense of
identity that was stolen from us so many years ago. We have to use our past to
better our future.