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African American Lives

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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(May 02, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

An unprecedented four-part series, AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES uncovers a new level personal discovery. Using genealogy, oral history, family stories, and DNA analysis to trace lineages through American history and back to Africa, the series provides life-changing journeys for a diverse group of highly accomplished African Americans including Whoopi Goldberg, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Quincy Jones, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, Chris Tucker and Oprah Winfrey.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: .
  • 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.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: May 2, 2006
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E6EHNG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,121 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "African American Lives" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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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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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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Format: DVD
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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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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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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The guests for this session include neurosurgeon Ben Carson, actress Whoopi Goldberg, musician/producer Quincy Jones and TV pioneer/philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. The 240 minute discussion covers the following topics: listening to our past, searching for our names, the promise of freedom, and beyond the middle passage.
DNA analysis is used for the guests to discover their roots in Africa. Most of the participants expressed an interest in traveling to the area of Africa where their roots are.
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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. Anyway, I will be showing this to my grand children. We were robbed of our heritage. Thanks to Dr. Gates and others, we know quite a bit.
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