Source: Faces of America: "All in the Family"
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Funding for Faces of America on PBS was provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional funding was provided by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Atlantic Philanthropies, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.
All in the Family Transcript (Document)
Narrator: My great-grandmother, Jane Gates, was a slave. We know a little about her – that she was a nurse and a midwife, and that her five children were fathered by a white man. But we don’t know anything about him, not even his name. Jane took the secret of his identity to her grave. And to this day, my great great-grandfather remains a mystery to me. The story is the same for a lot of us. Most African Americans have a white ancestor somewhere in our family tree – but for most of us, their identity remains unknown. Once in a while though, one of us gets lucky – the historical record unveils something more. And in the case of the poet, Elizabeth Alexander, a whole lot more.
Gates: I’ve never met an African American, I’ve never done a family tree of an African American who had a longer family history that was documentable. Documentable by paper. Could you read the name of your ancestors?
Elizabeth Alexander: Sir William Mallory, 13th great grandparents.
Gates: 13th great grandparent. Could you read this?
Alexander: Joan, Princess of England.
Gates: Joan, Princess of England who was....
Alexander: 23rd great grandparent.
Gates: And Elizabeth could you read the name at the top?
Alexander: John Lackland, King of England.
Gates: King John I, Elizabeth, is your 24th great grandfather.
Alexander: The King of England?
Gates: You are descended from the King of England, King John I.
Alexander: Directly descended?
Gates: Through your mother’s line. And Clemence, mistress of the King, is your 24th great grandmother.
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