It appears that genealogy is all over the television set these days. PBS is releasing a four-part series, "Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr." The special, which builds upon the Harvard University professor's popular documentary series "African American Lives" parts 1 and 2, traces the genealogical histories of 11 luminaries of various races and backgrounds. The list includes author Malcolm Gladwell, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, former champion figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, television actress Eva Longoria, and Oscar-winning legend Meryl Streep.
When "Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates Jr." premieres on PBS in February, viewers will first get to see Kristi Yamaguchi learn about the grandfather she never really knew. Meanwhile, novelist Louise Erdrich is shown cheering out loud when she is told one of her ancestors was one of the founders of Detroit.
"What this special proves is that white people, Latino people and Asian people are just as ignorant about their ancestors as black people," Gates told reporters at a Television Critics Association lunch Wednesday. "The difference was, this time we were able to go back further," Gates said.