Henry Louis Gates, Jr. takes actress and philanthropist Jessica Alba on a journey to explore her Mexican heritage in an all new episode of “Finding Your Roots,” a 10-part PBS series that explores race, culture and identity through genealogy.
This week’s episode features a look into Jessica Alba’s Mexican heritage, where she’s handed a book and every page reveals something new about her ancestors.
She and her father, Mark Alba, from whom her Mexican heritage comes from, are seen shifting through pictures in the preview of the episode.
In the journey of exploring her Mexican roots, the “Sin City” actress learned that her great-grandfather was key in creating a school for Mexican children –after not wanting children to fall behind in education.
Alba also talks about the segregation and prejudice stories she was told about; how her grandmother’s lighter-skinned family was allowed to go to “white” schools; whereas, her darker-skinned family was forced to attend “Mexican” schools.
Alba, who is aware and proud of her Mexican-American background, also finds out that she comes from Jewish ancestors, Mayans, and the official cartographer of King Louis the 14th of France.
The Latina starlet was born and raised in Southern California. Her mother is of French-Danish heritage and her father is of Mexican-Indian and Spanish lineage.
Another famous figure that will be featured on Tuesday night’s episode is Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, who discovers his connection to a black homesteader in Colorado and a white master who passed on his land to his slave after the Civil War.
Professor Gates, with the help of a team of genealogists, searches through the records and documents left behind by his guest’s ancestors.
After the paper trail’s run out, Gates has the worlds leading geneticists decode the DNA of his guest’s which can allow a person to travel thousands of years in the past and discover their earliest origins.
The show has already profiled many of the nation’s most well-known people, such as journalist Anderson Cooper, rapper Nas and comedian Tina Fey, taking them through their past to discover hidden stories.
VOXXI reporter Federica Longo contributed to this story.