Well, African American Lives has concluded for scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates and he has picked up some Asian, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Syrian, West Indian, and Native American lives to investigate. The original PBS special African American Lives sparked a lot of intrigue and fascination into the core of American history with the discoveries made in the 2 part series. It appears that the interest has bubbled up and spilled over into the households of all americans and now we will get a bird’s eye view into the lives of immigrants of America that may be more interesting than we think.
Some ancestors have at least one little dirty secret of slave ownership (which was also found in African American Lives), but we will see that for some histories that couldn’t be further from the truth. Dr. Gates who is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, envisioned taking the series global and including “sequencing of the full human genome for two of the series’ participants – a scientific and filmic first – to reveal detailed information about their ancestral make up,” according to The Network Journal.
The Journal reported, “We will reveal in rich detail the fascinating stories about our guests’s ancestors, both since their arrival as immigrants to the United States, and before their arrival here, in the countries from which they emigrated,” says Professor Gates. “We hope to show how immigration of peoples from around the globe so profoundly has reshaped what it means to be ‘an American’ and continues to affect how we talk about identity throughout our society today.”
The series will introduce us to the lives and histories for poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and read the poem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, chef Mario Batali, comedian and television personality Stephen Colbert, writer Junot Diaz, writer Louise Erdrich, writer Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, cellist Yo Yo Ma, writer and director Mike Nichols, former monarch of Jordan Queen Noor, actress Meryl Streep, and Olympic gold medalist and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.
Watch it tomorrow night, Wednesday, on PBS at 8pm EST. Read more about it here. And here’s a snippet: