|Professor Henry Louis Gates of Harvard|
Gates' ability to handle the tonal shifts in looking at the history of slavery and immigration in this country is impressive and makes the show at once good-natured, sad, angry, informative, moving, and even beautiful. A couple things stand out for me. One is that the histories of so many our families are tied up in the anguish of the Civil War and the crime of slavery and racism. The other is that Americans are a resilient and nervy bunch. Whether the story is one of African-Americans rising from the prison of slavery or of immigrants from Europe and Asia and Mexico and elsewhere, the people that have formed (and are forming) the American character are people who were unafraid to take great risks and overcome oppressive circumstances to build better lives for their descendents.