The second episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (U.S. edition) was broadcast on Friday night and again was a fascinating episode. This week's episode featured Emmitt Smith, former National Football League star. While it was broadcast on television, I watched it the following day on my computer by visiting www.hulu.com.
Smith had expectations of finding information about his slave ancestry and also possible leads back to Africa. He first returned to Pensacola, Florida, the town where he grew up, to ask his parents what they knew about their ancestry. His father also pointed Emmitt to a website that provides information about Emmitt's great-great-grandparents, William and Victoria Watson. Smith then went to Burnt Corn, Alabama, where he met a second cousin who provided leads. He then traveled to the Monroe County, Alabama, courthouse to examine records and then on to Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Here Emmitt learned that he also has white ancestry, probably the result of a forced rape of his black slave ancestor.
At that point he ran into a roadblock: a lack of records prior to 1826.
Enter DNA expert Megan Smolenyak with results from the DNA test that Smith took at the start of his quest. She showed Emmitt that most of his ancestry is 81% from Africa, specifically the present-day country of Benin. This led him to Benin for a view of the lives of typical blacks in the area around 1800, probably including his ancestors. Emmitt also visited a school where most of the children have been rescued from modern-day slavery, forced labor camps, and worse.
This week's program was moving, primarily because of the exposure of one of man's greatest cruelties: slavery. To the producers of Who Do You Think You Are? I can only offer one comment: "Well done."
I have to say that I prefer watching this program on the Internet rather than on television. Both versions contain advertisements, but the television ads strike me as being longer and more intrusive than those of the Internet version. The sixty-minute television program was squeezed down to a 42-minute 50-second Internet program. The reduction in length apparently was mostly because of the deletion of much of the advertising. I later watched the television version as captured by my digital video recorder. I felt the Internet version was the more pleasant experience with its shorter length and fewer interruptions by advertising.
I believe I will watch all future episodes of Who Do You Think You Are? on the Internet.
You can watch Who Do You Think You Are? featuring Emmitt Smith on NBC on Friday nights at 8 pm Eastern time/ 7 pm Central, or at any time after that on the Internet at: http://www.hulu.com/watch/134657/who-do-you-think-you-are-emmitt-smith.
You can also watch the episode with Emmitt Smith by clicking on the icon in the image below: