Posted by PBS Publicity on

One Selected Person Will Have His Or Her Roots Mapped Through DNA Analysis And Genealogical Research In New PBS Series Hosted By Harvard Scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Individuals Can Apply Online Beginning April 18th At: www.pbs.org/aalives

In February 2006, the acclaimed PBS series African American Lives brought to the forefront of national consciousness the powerful process of discovering one's family history. A Roots for the 21st century, the series made a deep cultural impact through its riveting use of DNA analysis, genealogical research and family oral tradition to trace the lineages of highly accomplished African Americans down through U.S. history and back to Africa.

One year later, Oprah's Roots further crystallized and propelled America's interest in family tree research through the powerful stories of Oprah Winfrey's ancestors and their accomplishments.

Now, you too are invited to participate in the newest African American Lives project. The producers of African American Lives 2 are seeking an African American to join Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and an all-new group of distinguished African Americans on an extraordinary journey of discovery. The series is tentatively scheduled to air on PBS in February 2008.

"What we find in doing this research is that even a regular person has extraordinary stories within his or her family," says Professor Gates. "In African American Lives 2, we'll work with one such person to show that the technology and resources for discovering these stories are available to all Americans, especially those of African descent."

Under the supervision of Professor Gates, the series' research will be conducted by the eminent genealogists Tony Burroughs, Johni Cerny, Jane Ailes and Megan Smolenyak together with Ancestry.com, one of the world's leading online resources for family history information. They'll research the selected individual's family history, while a DNA testing service will provide a genetic analysis. The results of both will be revealed, along with that of the other series participants, by Professor Gates on the PBS broadcast of African American Lives 2.


Beginning April 18th, interested individuals must apply online at www.pbs.org/aalives. Online applications must be received by 6:00 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2007. Any applications submitted after this date and time will not be considered. Finalists will receive a one-year subscription to Ancestry.com. The winning applicant will be notified and announced the week of May 28, 2007. Please note that the following are not eligible to participate: employees, and their relatives, of PBS, the series' producers (Thirteen/WNET, Kunhardt Productions, and Inkwell Films) and corporate sponsors (The Coca-Cola Company, Johnson & Johnson and General Motors).

In addition to their name, age, gender, and contact information, applicants will be asked to tell the judges about themselves and their family, and why they would make the ideal candidate for the series.

Upon submitting the online application, individuals will receive an e-mail confirmation with a unique identification number. Applicants must attach this number along with their name to a photograph of themselves and mail it to: African American Lives 2, 305 West Broadway, Suite 144, New York, NY 10013. Photographs must be postmarked no later than Monday, May 7. Applications are not complete until the production team receives an individual's photograph.

Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional funding is provided by General Motors.

African American Lives 2 is a co-production of Thirteen/WNET New York, Kunhardt Productions and Inkwell Films. Graham Judd is series producer; Dyllan McGee is senior producer for Kunhardt Productions. Executive producers are Henry Louis Gates Jr., William R. Grant and Peter W. Kunhardt.

About Thirteen/WNET New York
Thirteen/WNET New York is one of the key program providers for public television, bringing such acclaimed series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Charlie Rose, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, Wide Angle, Secrets of the Dead, NOW With David Brancaccio, and Cyberchase - as well as the work of Bill Moyers - to audiences nationwide. As the flagship public broadcaster in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut metro area, Thirteen reaches millions of viewers each week, airing the best of American public television along with its own local productions such as The Ethnic Heritage Specials, The Thirteen Walking Tours, New York Voices, and Reel New York. Thirteen extends the impact of its television productions through educational and community outreach projects - including the Celebration of Teaching and Learning - as well as Web sites and other digital media platforms. More information can be found at: www.thirteen.org.

About Kunhardt Productions
For nearly 20 years, Kunhardt Productions has been responsible for critically acclaimed historical programming with a reputation for high editorial standards. Most recently, Kunhardt Productions co-produced Oprah's Roots (2007) and African American Lives (2006) for PBS. Previously, the company produced Freedom: A History of US, an eight-hour PBS series based upon Joy Hakim's award-winning books. Other notable works from Kunhardt Productions include Lincoln, a four-hour series for ABC; In Memoriam, a one-hour co-production with HBO about Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; and The American President, a 10-hour PBS series profiling all forty-one presidents of the United States. Kunhardt Productions is currently developing a multi-part series for PBS, Looking for Lincoln, to be broadcast in 2009 as part of the Bicentennial Celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birth. More information can be found at: www.kunhardtproductions.com.

About Inkwell Films
Inkwell Films was founded by Henry Louis Gates Jr. to produce sophisticated documentary films about the African-American experience for a broad audience. In addition to Oprah's Roots, Inkwell Films co-produced African American Lives (2006) and is currently developing The History of the African American People, an eight-part series tentatively slated for national broadcast premiere in 2009-2010.

About PBS
PBS is a media enterprise that serves 354 public noncommercial television stations and reaches over 75 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (www.pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.



Donna Williams, Thirteen/WNET New York, 212.560.8030, williamsd@thirteen.org

Gloria Park, Thirteen/WNET New York, 212.560.2063, parkg@thirteen.org