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African American Lives (2006)

Benjamin Carson Sr. , Henry Louis Gates  |  NR |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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African American Lives + African American Lives 2 + Faces of America
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Product Details

  • Actors: Benjamin Carson Sr., Henry Louis Gates, Whoopi Goldberg, T.D. Jakes, Mae C. Jemison
  • Producers: Jesse Sweet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Widescreen, NTSC, Closed-captioned
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E6EHNG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,343 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "African American Lives" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Renowned scholar Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., W.E.B. DuBois professor of the Humanities and chair of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University, takes Alex Haley’s Roots saga to a whole new level. Using genealogy and DNA science, Dr. Gates tells the personal stories of eight accomplished African Americans, tracing their roots through American history and back to Africa. Participants include Dr. Ben Carson, Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Dr. Mae Jemison, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African American Lives February 18, 2006
I was so pleased with this project. This is an excellent source for college professors and instructors who teach courses on race. As someone who has lived in Africa, I was moved by Chris Tucker's reaction to the reception he received by the Angolan people. The idea that we can trace our ancestry to Europe, Africa the Middle East based on our DNA is absolutely fascinating. Finally African Americans, all Americans have a lens in which to view the concept that we are more alike than we are different. Henry Louis Gates is to be commended for his foresight and scholarship.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African American Lives February 16, 2006
I saw the program on PBS and was inspired by the quality of production, variety of locations, subject matters and the huge amounts of detailed research that was displayed. What an enormous budget to produced such an epic document.

Dr. Henry Louis Gates seems to have fun mining the gold that is lying out in the fields of our African America history. Thanks for taking me along.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Speechless!! July 16, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I watched this on PBS during it's initial airing. Unfortunately, many friends did not. I'm purchasing this now one as a gift for a dear friend and one for myself to watch with other friends. I found it extremely interesting and educational for people of all nationalities. Whether you are African-American or any other nationality this is something to watch. The diversity on the outcome of the research done on Oprah, Q, Whoopi, Chris Tucker, & all the others done during this research was astounding and very interesting. Just to find out Penn State doing the Master File on genetic tracking. Just a swab of your saliva from your mouth and your family genes can be backtracked to the actual birthplace of your family. Just so thought-provoking on so many levels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really, really good television August 22, 2008
A wonderful PBS program hosted by Henry Louis Gates. With the aid of historians and geneologists, Professor Gates researches his own history and that of several prominent African Americans. Each guest speaks of his or her own knowledge of their ancestors and Professor Gates fills in the gaps using census records, estate diaries, archives and DNA. Everyone is in some way surprised by what they learn concerning their lineage. Professor Gates is a gifted communicator, and the interaction between he and his guests is very interesting. I loved the segments with him and his dad and aunt. The parts regarding slavery are very moving--it's sobering to see how human beings were put on the level of oxen or cattle with some records not even listing their names. The guests appeared to be deeply touched when told of their enslaved ancestors. I would highly recommend this well made, fascinating DVD to anyone who is interested in geneology or African American issues, or really anyone.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative and Inspiring December 25, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This video was very entertaining. It researches the family history of several prominent african amerians. It also provides a general history of blacks in slavery, Jim Crow years, the Civil War, The Middle Passage and the Great Migration. Specific information is given on how DNA can assist in geneology studies. I recommend this video for the family.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African American Lives March 18, 2009
By W. Fox
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this series,and wish to congratulate PBS for again being in the vanguard by producing it. For those interested in African-American genealogy,I feel this is a must have. And even if you're not a fan of genealogy itself, the celebrities and the presentations of their 'stories' are interesting in and of themselves. Highly recommend!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars educational January 25, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Proof that Oprah has no european DNA in her body. Many people should watch all professor Henry Gates Jr. films.
Maybe the bible is correct, " in the beginning there were 3 mankinds, the sons of god, the sons of man and the giants".

Bought this to send to my daughter.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I like it. April 26, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I sat with a bag of popcorn and enjoyed this movies. The quality of this movie was great and I would highly recommend it to my family and friends. There are great messages within this movie, listen for them!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love it.
Published 2 days ago by shotzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Love shows that educate.
Published 3 months ago by reesecc
5.0 out of 5 stars Really?
I thought I reviewed this years ago! Anyway, I fell in love with Dr. Gates' work when the show aired on PBS. Dr. Carson is one of my heroes. His story is about miracles. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Nancy Price-Hobday
5.0 out of 5 stars Most excellent!
Excellent DVD. I will order the rest of Dr. Gates DVDs. I watched all of then on PBS and now I can watch each of them over again with my family.
Published 11 months ago by BlingFairy
5.0 out of 5 stars enjoying this
I watched the African American Lives 2 and am looking forward to finishing this one. Really enjoying the stories and history.
Published 14 months ago by Rachel Ault
5.0 out of 5 stars love
I bought a couple of these for my parents. I really enjoyed this special on PBS and wanted to share with them.
Published 14 months ago by Ronne42
5.0 out of 5 stars African American Lives
I have wanted this DVD for a long time, and I absolutely love it. I also loved the Faces of America series on PBS, and bought that, as well.
Published 15 months ago by Joan Riba
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This product was exactly what it was said to be. And it's such a great DVD to own. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.
Published 18 months ago by Alana J. Stoner
4.0 out of 5 stars this is a must have...
Love the insight on the history on African American as a people and culture.

Part two you can find on PBS website.
Published 19 months ago by Goodness
5.0 out of 5 stars Professor Gates is joined by 8 guests after tracing their family trees...
The guests for this session include neurosurgeon Ben Carson, actress Whoopi Goldberg, musician/producer Quincy Jones and TV pioneer/philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Zarathustra
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