Finding Your Roots: American Storytellers

PBS has a program with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. called “Finding Your Roots.”  The latest episode dealt with journalist Anderson Cooper, documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and Playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith, three American storytellers.

This was a fascinating episode, with all three guests having Civil War-related roots.  Missing is Anderson Cooper’s lineage to Hugh Judson Kilpatrick, aka “Kill Cavalry,” a Union cavalry general in the Civil War, but they researched his Cooper roots and found confederate soldiers and one slave owner.  Ken Burns has a linkage to a confederate soldier as well, but found out in this program that he has a rather famous cousin:  Abraham Lincoln.  Anna Deavere Smith’s forebear was Basil Biggs, one of the most prominent citizens of Gettysburg at the time of the Civil War, and probably the most prominent African-American in Gettysburg.

I really enjoyed this episode.  You can watch it here.



  1. Chuck Paris · · Reply

    Did they skip over Cooper’s Kilpatrick lineage completely?

    1. Yes, they did. They did lip service to the Vanderbilt side of his family and then dug into the Coopers.

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