Living: White Roots: Looking for Great-Grandpa

Like Moliere's M. Jourdain, who in middle age found to his delight that he had been speaking prose all his life, a huge number of Americans are raptly if belatedly discovering that they are scions. Everyone—not just Anthony Dupuy Crustworthy IV—has ancestors and, with time, patience and luck, can trace a pedigree and track his progenitors back to Minsk or Marseille, the Isle of Wjght or at least Ellis Island.

Alex Haley, against stupendous odds, pursued his Roots two centuries back to darkest Gambia. For 130 million Americans glued to the eight-part Haley-Kinte TV...

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