The descendants of immigrants, particularly those coming to the U.S., have long contended with incomplete familial records and documentation due to their relatives' emigration. But a PBS television show from noted Harvard history professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., does some digging into notable contemporary figures' previously unknown lineage to provide clsoure.
"Finding Your Roots" profiles three individuals per episode based on a common theme. Gates chose Chinese-American artist and architect Maya Lin, Canadian-born turned Los Angeles-based architect Frank Gehry, and British businessman and investor Richard Branson for its "Visionaries" edition.
Although each innovator went into the project with vague ideas of their lineage, each one was surprised with the host’s findings. Lin, for instance, discovered that her great-grandmother became a practitioner in family medicine after losing her husband and was left to raise five children alone before the Communist Revolution in China. Gehry is told that his distant cousin survived three different concentration campus during the Holocaust, and was eventually liberated by Russian troops. Branson, the non-designer, discovers that he has South Asian lineage.
To watch the full episode, head over to PBS.
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