Sterling K. Brown in Finding Your Roots – Presented by Ancestry® | Ancestry


Wow, oh my goodness. My family’s going to flip. We almost never see a
native-born African identified in the family trees of black Americans. And there’s a very good reason for that. The slave trade from Africa to the United States ended in 1808. So by the time all
African Americans were identified by name for the very first time
in the 1870 federal census, their African-born ancestors
had long been deceased. As a result, many
African Americans believe that we can never find a
paper trail back to Africa. But there are exceptions. Jesse was born about the year
1815 also in Mississippi. But there’s something else about Jesse that I wanna show you, something that’s really surprised me. Would you please turn the page? Okay. Now Sterling, would you please read where Jesse’s parents were born? Birthplace of father, Africa. Birthplace of mother, Africa. Combing through that
magical 1870 census, we found Sterling K. Brown’s
fourth great-grandfather, a man named Jesse Allen. And we discovered that
his parents, Sterling’s fifth great-grandparents, had
actually been born in Africa. That single magical word, Africa, brought Sterling K. Brown to tears. Wow, man. Wow. And his emotion points
to something much deeper, the power of genealogy
to help rebuild families that had been shattered
by slavery, a power that can be startling to behold. When you hear like
your friends talk about their German ancestors
and their Irish ancestors and Italian ancestors, like
I feel like I’m on the cusp of like I can join in that conversation– Yes. Right? This is awesome.

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