The Growing Interest in African American Ancestry

From an article about African-American Genealogy and DNA by Clara Germani in The Christian Science Monitor’s cover story of September 2, 2019:

The burgeoning interest of African Americans in their ancestry is helping to clarify family identities and heal the wounds of slavery. In the process, it is shaping everything from African American baby names to views on reparations.


“The cultural impact of ancestry tracing among African Americans has been phenomenal,” says Henry Louis Gates Jr., who heads the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. Ancestry searching, he notes, has direct influence on African American baby names, music, clothing, hair, dance, and film, and is spurring African American tourism on the African continent. “All those things, incrementally, over the last 25 years are the results of black Americans being able to establish more concrete, specific connections with their African ancestors and cousins,” he says.

And there is implied political power in the new genealogical tool of genetic testing.

You can read the rest of this interesting story in The Christian Science Monitor’s web site at:

One Comment

Even though I am white, I have worked with African American genealogy and history for 6 years, and have made many Black friends that way. In fact, I have become THE unofficial historian of Black history in my area.
However, even those who ARE interested in tracing their families bemoan the lack of interest among other Blacks. Tracing ancestors back to enslavement is just too painful for many, and for others, they feel that doing so will re-segregate them from the general population to which they have been (to various degrees) accepted. And don’t even try to get anyone under 40 interested.
Doesn’t matter, I’m going to continue working and sharing my work with anyone who is interested.


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