*Harlem educator Geoffrey Canada made some startling discoveries in his family tree as part of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”
“Every black family believes that they descend from the white man who owned them, and it turns out that we have never tested an African American who was a hundred percent black,” Dr. Gates told reporters during a press conference for the series. “Every African American has a significant percentage of European ancestry. So do you know what we did this time? We actually tracked down the descendants of the slave master, white descendants, and matched their DNA against the DNA of our guests.”
Gates said in two cases out of four this season, DNA tests proved that the guest was descended from the white ancestor that the family believed was kin. In Canada’s episode (scroll down to watch in its entirety), he learned there was a significant amount of European blood in his DNA.
But sadly, Canada will never have the identity of his white ancestor confirmed. On camera, Gates informed him that the descendants of the slave master believed to have fathered Canada’s family line refused to take the DNA test.
Below, Gates explains why they refused and their initial reaction when he first made contact.
Below, watch a clip of Geoffrey Canada coming to terms with his mixed roots, followed by the episode in its entirety.