Finding Your Roots

S6 E13 | FULL EPISODE

War Stories

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of actor Julianne Moore, comedian Bill Hader, and painter Kehinde Wiley, revealing how their ancestors’ military service left an indelible mark both on their families and on their country.

AIRED: November 10, 2020 | 0:52:40
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

GATES: I'M HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR.

WELCOME TO FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

IN THIS EPISODE, WE'LL MEET ACTOR JULIANNE MOORE,

COMEDIAN BILL HADER, AND ARTIST KEHINDE WILEY.

THREE AMERICANS WHOSE FAMILY TREES ARE FILLED WITH STORIES

OF WAR, AND SACRIFICE...

HE WASN'T DRAFTED, MAN.

HE ENLISTED. HE CHOSE TO FIGHT.

HADER: I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M RELATED TO HIM.

(LAUGHS).

MOORE: YOU HAVE THIS CONNECTION TO SOMEBODY

300 YEARS AGO, WHO WAS A PATRIOT,

REALLY BELIEVED IN THE UNITED STATES.

GATES: THEY'RE SPECIAL PEOPLE.

MOORE: I WONDER IF ANYONE IN MY FAMILY KNOWS THIS.

WILEY: IT MAKES ME FEEL, UM, ENGAGED IN SOMETHING LARGER.

IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF

PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE THE HARD WORK.

GATES: MM-HMM.

WILEY: THIS IS INTENSE!

GATES: TO UNCOVER THEIR ROOTS,WE'VE USED EVERY TOOL AVAILABLE.

GENEALOGISTS COMBED THROUGH THE PAPER TRAIL

THEIR ANCESTORS LEFT BEHIND...

WHILE DNA EXPERTS UTILIZED THE LATEST ADVANCES IN

GENETIC ANALYSIS TO REVEAL SECRETS HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD,

AND WE'VE COMPILED EVERYTHING INTO A BOOK OF LIFE,

A RECORD OF ALL OF OUR DISCOVERIES...

MOORE: IT'S NUTS HONESTLY.

GATES: YOU ARE THE DESCENDANT OF A PATRIOT.

HADER: IT FEELS PRETTY GOOD.

GATES: PRETTY COOL.

HADER: YEAH... THAT'S AMAZING.

GATES: EACH OF MY GUESTS HAS A FAMILY TREE

FILLED WITH SOLDIERS.

IN THIS EPISODE, THEY'LL DISCOVER HOW THEIR ANCESTORS'

SERVICE SHAPED THEM, AND SHAPED OUR COUNTRY,

GIVING EACH THE CHANCE TO EXPLORE OUR NATION'S HISTORY

IN A DEEPLY PERSONAL WAY.

(THEME MUSIC PLAYS).

GATES: JULIANNE MOORE IS ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST

COURAGEOUS ACTORS, BLESSED WITH A FEARLESSNESS THAT

HAS EARNED HER CRITICAL ACCLAIM, AND MULTIPLE AWARDS,

INCLUDING AN OSCAR IN 2015.

IT'S A QUALITY THAT FLOWS OUT OF HER UPBRINGING.

JULIANNE HAILS FROM A MILITARY FAMILY.

SHE WAS BORN IN FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA,

WHERE HER FATHER WAS SERVING IN THE ARMY.

GROWING UP, SHE CHANGED SCHOOLS NINE TIMES,

AS HER FATHER WAS TRANSFERRED TO BASES ALL OVER THE WORLD.

THAT UNSTABLE LIFESTYLE WOULD'VE OVERWHELMED MANY.

FOR JULIANNE, HOWEVER,

IT BECAME THE SPRINGBOARD OF HER CAREER.

MOORE: WHEN YOU ASK AN ACTOR ABOUT THEIR FAMILY HISTORY

YOU'LL USUALLY FIND A KIND OF PERIPATETIC UPBRINGING.

I THINK THAT YOU BECOME REALLY OBSERVANT OF BEHAVIOR.

SO YOU LEARN THAT BEHAVIOR IS MUTABLE,

THAT YOU CAN CHANGE YOURSELF TO FIT IN.

GATES: WHILE IT MAY HAVE HELPED FUEL HER ACTING

TALENTS, BEING A SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER WASN'T EASY.

WHEN JULIANNE WAS JUST FIVE YEARS OLD,

HER FATHER LEFT FOR VIETNAM.

THAT'S YOUR FATHER IN 1965,

WHILE HE WAS SERVING AS A HELICOPTER PILOT.

MOORE: HE LOOKS VERY HANDSOME IN THIS PICTURE.

GATES: YOUR FATHER WAS STATIONED JUST NORTH OF

SAIGON, AND HE FLEW HELICOPTER MISSIONS.

AND IT WAS A VERY DANGEROUS ASSIGNMENT.

OF THE 40,000 HELICOPTER PILOTS WHO SERVED IN VIETNAM,

MORE THAN 2,000 DIED OR WENT MISSING IN ACTION.

MOORE: YEAH. IT WAS VERY, VERY HARD ON MY MOTHER

BECAUSE SHE WAS LEFT WITH THREE LITTLE KIDS.

MY BROTHER WAS AN INFANT AND SHE WAS ONLY 25.

YOU KNOW, I MEAN SO THAT WAS, THAT WAS TERRIBLE.

GATES: DURING HIS TOUR OF DUTY, JULIANNE'S FATHER

FLEW MORE THAN 500 COMBATMISSIONS, AND RECEIVED NUMEROUS

MEDALS INCLUDING THE BRONZE STAR, AND A PURPLE HEART.

HE WENT ON TO BECOME A LAWYER.

AND EVENTUALLY RETURNED TO THE ARMY,

WHERE HE BECAME A MILITARY JUDGE.

HE WAS A SOLDIER TO THE CORE,

AND HIS OUTLOOK SHAPED JULIANNE.

WHY DID YOUR FATHER DECIDE TO ENLIST IN THE FIRST PLACE?

MOORE: PART OF IT WAS THE ADVENTURE.

I THINK HE REALLY DID WANT TO SEE THE WORLD.

IT WAS A WAY TO KIND OF CHANGE HIS LIFE.

AND AS A RESULT I SAW A LOT.

THE MILITARY GAVE ME A MUCH BROADER WORLDVIEW.

GATES: OH, I'M SURE. YEAH.

MOORE: IN TERMS OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE MILITARY,

YOU KNOW? I MEAN I DON'T, I DON'T KNOW.

GATES: ARE YOU A DISCIPLINARIAN?

MOORE: NO. I DON'T, I DON'T.

BUT I DO LIKE, I LIKE ORDER.

GATES: YEAH. MHM. I DO TOO.

MOORE: AND I KNOW HOW TO MAKE A BED. YOU KNOW?

GATES: LIKE JULIANNE, RENOWNED ARTIST KEHINDE WILEY

HAS THE MILITARY IN HIS BLOOD.

HE WAS RAISED BY A SINGLE MOTHER WHO SERVED IN THE

MARINE CORPS FOR THREE YEARS, GAINING DISCIPLINE AND

SOCIAL SKILLS THAT, ACCORDING TO KEHINDE,

MOLDED HER CHARACTER AND SET HER ON A PATH THAT

SHE STILL FOLLOWS TODAY...

EVEN THOUGH HER SON FOLLOWED A VERY DIFFERENT PATH.

WILEY: I WAS A CLASSIC LONER, I WAS VERY INTERIOR.

I REMEMBER MY MOTHER SAYING TO ME,

"WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU LISTENING TO CHARLES MINGUS,

WHEN MC HAMMER IS, LIKE, GOING ON?"

GATES: RIGHT. "WHAT KIND OF CHILD ARE YOU?"

KEHINDE'S MOTHER MAY HAVE WONDERED ABOUT HER SON'S

TASTES BUT SHE SUPPORTED HIS ARTISTIC INTERESTS

TO THE UTMOST.

DESPITE LIMITED RESOURCES, AND A LARGE FAMILY TO RAISE,

SHE BOUGHT HIM ART SUPPLIES, FOUND HIM SPECIAL CLASSES,

AND TOOK HIM TO MUSEUMS,

WHERE KEHINDE FELT AT HOME RIGHT AWAY.

WILEY: I REMEMBER SEEING AMAZING

19TH- CENTURY BRITISH PORTRAITURE...

GATES: MHM.

WILEY: AND NOTICING, EVEN AS A KID,

THAT THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT PRESENTED ITSELF THAT WAS

RADICALLY DIFFERENT FROM THE ENVIRONMENT THAT

I FELT I LIVED IN.

GATES: MM-HMM.

WILEY: AND I WAS JUST DRAWN TO IT.

I WAS DRAWN TO ITS ARTIFICE.

I WAS DRAWN TO THE POWDERED WIGS AND THE PEARLS AND THE

LAPDOGS AND THE SWORDS.

AND FOR SOME REASON IT STUCK WITH ME.

GATES: KEHINDE'S MUSEUM TRIPS WERE THE START OF

SOMETHING MUCH LARGER.

HE WENT ON TO STUDY AT THE SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE,

AND THEN AT YALE.

TODAY, ALMOST EVERY MAJOR MUSEUM IN AMERICA INCLUDES HIS

WORK IN THEIR COLLECTIONS, AND HE WAS CHOSEN BY PRESIDENT

BARACK OBAMA TO PAINT HIS OFFICIAL PORTRAIT FOR THE

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY IN WASHINGTON, DC.

BUT EVEN AS KEHINDE HAS REACHED THE PINNACLE OF HIS

FIELD, HE'S NEVER LOST SIGHT OF THE PERSON WHO MADE IT ALL

POSSIBLE: HIS MOM.

WILEY: THERE IS NOTHING WITHOUT HER, RIGHT?

I MEAN, MY TEACHERS ARE GREAT AND FOUNDATIONAL

AND UH, ENCOURAGING...

GATES: RIGHT.

WILEY: BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT WASN'T POPULAR BEING AN

AESTHETIC CHILD, RIGHT?

GATES: NO. NO.

WILEY: SO MUCH OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE MASCULINE AND

BLACK AND PRESENT IN THE WORLD IS TO BE OBSESSED WITH THE

PHYSICAL, WITH SPORTS, WITH ALL OF THESE OTHER THINGS.

GATES: RIGHT.

WILEY: AND I WAS INTO DRAWING.

I WAS INTO WHETHER OR NOT ICOULD FIND THE BEST WATERCOLORS.

WE DIDN'T HAVE MONEY FOR THAT STUFF AND SO

SHE WOULD FIND THE MONEY.

GATES: THAT'S GREAT.

WILEY: YEAH.

GATES: MY THIRD GUEST IS COMEDIAN BILL HADER.

BILL CAME TO FAME AS A MASTER OF BIZARRE IMPERSONATIONS ON

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, AND HE HAS BLOSSOMED AS THE

WRITER, DIRECTOR AND STAR OF THE EMMY-AWARD-WINNING

HBO SERIES BARRY.

BILL WASN'T RAISED BY A SOLDIER,

HIS TIES TO THE MILITARY LIE DEEPER IN HIS ROOTS,

BUT JUST LIKE KEHINDE AND JULIANNE,

HE IS VERY MUCH A PRODUCT OF HIS NUCLEAR FAMILY.

INDEED, HIS RENOWNED GIFT FOR IMPERSONATION WAS HONED

IN HIS CHILDHOOD HOME.

DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST PERSON YOU IMPERSONATED?

HADER: WELL, THE FIRST, THIS IS KIND OF AN AWFUL STORY,

BUT I'LL TELL IT.

UH, THE FIRST THING I IMPERSONATED WAS MY MOM

ACCIDENTALLY, ACCIDENTALLY AND I WANT TO STRESS

ACCIDENTALLY KILLED OUR CAT.

ACCIDENTALLY KILLED OUR CAT.

SHE DRIED IT.

IT FELL ASLEEP IN THE DRYER AND MY MOM DRIED THE CAT.

AND IT FELL ASLEEP.

SHE WAS ON THE PHONE AND SHE THREW CLOTHES ON TOP OF IT

AND SHE DRIED THE CAT AND SHE FELT AWFUL.

SHE STARTED CRYING, SHE FLIPPED OUT.

MY GRANDFATHER AND I CAME OVER AND WE HAD TO TAKE THE CAT

OUT OF THE DRYER AND IT WAS DEAD.

IT WAS AWFUL.

THIS IS NOT FUNNY BUT I TRIED TO CHEER HER UP.

I WAS VERY YOUNG BY DOING AN IMPERSONATION

OF WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE.

I WENT ON THE GROUND AND I DID THIS THING AND MY MOM WAS

LIKE, "GET UP!" "DON'T DO THAT!"

MY GRANDFATHER WAS LAUGHING SO HARD.

I WAS LIKE, "HE'S KIND OF LIKE THIS."

GATES: BILL'S SENSE OF HUMOR MAY HAVE IMPRESSED

HIS GRANDFATHER, BUT IT WOULD IT TAKE YEARS TO FIND

A WIDER AUDIENCE.

AN INDIFFERENT STUDENT IN HIS HOMETOWN OF TULSA, OKLAHOMA,

HE APPLIED TO SEVERAL COLLEGES,

BUT WASN'T ACCEPTED INTO ANY OF THEM,

AND ENDED UP MOVING TO LOS ANGELES ON A WHIM,

SUPPORTED ONLY BY HIS PARENTS.

DO YOU THINK THAT EITHER CONSCIOUSLY OR SUBCONSCIOUSLY

THEY WERE TRYING TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO GO INTO FILMMAKING?

HADER: NO. NO.

I DON'T THINK ANYBODY HAD...I DIDN'T EVEN THINK,

I MEAN THE FACT THAT I MOVED TO LOS ANGELES WAS ENOUGH TO

YOU KNOW, GET A STORY WRITTEN ABOUT ME IN THE TULSA PAPER.

(LAUGHS).

LIKE, "AREA NOBODY MOVES TO HOLLYWOODLAND,"

YOU KNOW, OR WHATEVER.

BUT, UH, NO, I DON'T THINK IT EVER OCCURRED TO ANY OF US

THAT I WOULD EVER BE DOING WHAT I'M DOING.

GATES: BILL'S TRAJECTORY WAS FOREVER ALTERED IN THE SPRING

OF 2003 WHEN, AFTER YEARS OF WORKING LOW LEVEL JOBS IN THE

FILM INDUSTRY, HE DECIDED TO DO SOMETHING TRULY CREATIVE,

AND SIGNED UP FOR A CLASS RUN BY THE LEGENDARY SECOND CITY

COMEDY TROUPE, WHERE HE WAS SINGLED OUT BY HIS TEACHER.

HADER: I REMEMBER MY FIRST CLASS.

AND IT WAS THE FIRST THING IN A LONG TIME WHERE

SOMEONE WENT, "HEY, YOU'RE REALLY GOOD AT THIS."

GATES: WOW.

HADER: I WENT, "REALLY?"

JUST HAVING SOMEONE SAY YOU'RE GOOD AT SOMETHING...

GATES: OH, IT'S HEAVY.

HADER: MEANS THE WORLD.

GATES: YEAH.

HADER: AND I OFTEN THINK ABOUT THAT.

YOU KNOW, IT WAS LIKE A LINE OF US, HE WAS GOING

"HEY, WORK ON BLAH, BLAH." YOU KNOW.

"BILL, YOU'RE GOOD AT THIS. YOU GET IN."

IT WAS THAT QUICK. "NEXT. MOVE ON."

AND IT JUST TOTALLY CHANGED MY LIFE.

GATES: IT'S YOUR LUCKY DAY.

HADER: YEAH. AND I REMEMBER FEELING EXCITED

AND I BOUGHT EVERYBODY LUNCH.

GATES: UH-HUH.

HADER: THAT'S WHAT I REMEMBER.

"LUNCH IS ON ME! I'M GOOD AT SOMETHING!"

GATES: MY THREE GUESTS COME FROM VERY DIFFERENT

BACKGROUNDS, BUT THEY ARE BOUND BY A COMMON THREAD:

EACH DESCENDS FROM ANCESTORSWHOSE LIVES WERE SHAPED BY WAR.

AND MANY OF THEIR STORIES, AS DRAMATIC AS THEY WERE,

HAD BEEN LOST WITH THE PASSAGE OF TIME.

OUR JOB WAS TO RECOVER THEM.

MOORE: OH, EEMA AND GRANDAD.

GATES: THOSE ARE YOUR GRANDPARENTS,

YOUR FATHER'S PARENTS, CHARLES EDWARD SMITH,

AND FRANCES MERVIL HAAS.

NOW, YOU LIVED WITH THEM WHEN YOUR FATHER WAS IN VIETNAM.

WHAT WERE THEY LIKE AND WHAT ARE YOUR HAPPIEST MEMORIES?

MOORE: THEY HAD A BIG HOUSE UM, ON THE DELAWARE RIVER.

MY GRANDFATHER BUILT US A PLAYHOUSE IN THE BACKYARD.

I REMEMBER BEING HAPPY AND PLAYING WITH MY GRANDMOTHER'S

JEWELRY AND WITH HER CLOTHES, AND IT WAS JUST NICE TO HAVE

EVERYBODY AROUND.

GATES: JULIANNE'S GRANDPARENTS PROVIDED LOVE AND STABILITY

DURING HER NOMADIC CHILDHOOD.

BUT THE FAMILY HAD NOT ALWAYS BEEN SO PEACEFUL.

MOVING BACK TWO GENERATIONS, WE CAME TO JULIANNE'S

GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER, A MAN WHOSE NAME MATCHED

JULIANNE'S FATHER'S: PETER MOORE SMITH...

AND, AS WE SOON DISCOVERED,

THE TWO MEN SHARED MUCH MORE THAN THEIR NAMES.

NOW GET READY FOR THIS.

WE FOUND THIS SERVICE CARD

IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES IN WASHINGTON.

WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THE HIGHLIGHTED SECTION?

MOORE: OH, MY FATHER IS GOING TO LOVE THIS.

"PETER M. SMITH, PRIVATE, COMPANY ONE, 2ND REGIMENT

PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY, MEXICAN WAR."

GATES: THAT MEANS THAT YOUR GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

PETER, SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY

DURING THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR.

HE ENLISTED WHEN HE WAS 15 YEARS OLD.

MOORE: WOW. WOW. YEAH. SO IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

GATES: DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING,

FROM HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY CLASS,

ANYTHING ABOUT THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR?

MOORE: I DON'T REMEMBER ANYTHING ABOUT THE

MEXICAN-AMERICAN... THAT'S TERRIBLE.

GATES: IN MAY OF 1846, A BITTER FEUD TO DEFINE THE

BORDER BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND MEXICO BOILED OVER,

LEADING TO WAR BETWEEN THE TWO NATIONS.

JULIANNE'S GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

JUST 15 YEARS OLD, VOLUNTEERED TO FIGHT.

NOW THE MAP SHOWS THE MOVEMENTS OF PETER'S REGIMENT.

MOORE: THAT'S NUTS!

GATES: THEY TRAVELLED BY BOAT FROM NEW ORLEANS TO VERA CRUZ

AND THEN THEY FOUGHT THEIR WAY TOWARDS MEXICO CITY,

AND IN THEIR PATH WAS THIS FORTRESS.

LOOK THERE.

PETER AND HIS REGIMENT WERE CHARGED WITH STORMING THE

CASTLE OF CHAPULTEPEC, A MILITARY ACADEMY

OUTSIDE OF MEXICO CITY.

IT SAT ATOP A 200 FOOT HILL, WITH VIEWS ON EVERY SIDE,

AND IT WAS WELL-DEFENDED.

ON SEPTEMBER 13, 1847, THE AMERICANS USED LADDERS

TO SCALE THE CASTLE'S WALLS,TAKING IT IN A MATTER OF HOURS.

THE NEXT DAY, PETER'S REGIMENT SEIZED CONTROL OF MEXICO CITY.

THE U.S. HAD WON THE WAR, AND GAINED OVER 500,000

SQUARE MILES OF LAND, OPENING THE AMERICAN WEST

AND COMPLETELY CHANGING THE SHAPE OF OUR NATION.

BUT, DISAGREEMENTS OVER WHETHER THIS NEW TERRITORY

SHOULD ALLOW SLAVERY ENFLAMED TENSIONS THAT WOULD EVENTUALLY

LEAD TO THE CIVIL WAR.

AND ONCE AGAIN PETER WOULD BE CALLED TO ARMS.

WOULD YOU PLEASE TURN THE PAGE?

MOORE: OH, MY GOSH.

"PETER M. SMITH. RANK: CORPORAL. AGE: 33.

JOINED FOR DUTY NOVEMBER 22, 1864. DRAFTED."

GATES: DRAFTED.

THIS IS A LIST OF SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT FOR THE UNION ARMY.

MOORE: THAT'S RIGHT. THE CIVIL WAR.

GATES: IN PENNSYLVANIA'S 82ND REGIMENT.

THIS MEANS THAT YOUR GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER

WAS BACK IN THE ARMY.

MOORE: DRAFTED AT 33.

GATES: NOW, DOES IT SURPRISE YOU THAT YOUR SMITH LINE LEADS

TO A SOLDIER WHO SERVED IN TWO DIFFERENT WARS?

MOORE: IT DOESN'T ACTUALLY, KNOWING MY FATHER.

I'M NOT SURPRISED. THAT'S SO INTERESTING.

WOW. THAT'S UNFORTUNATE. THAT'S TOUGH, TWO WARS.

GATES: OH, YEAH. BAD LUCK.

MOORE: YEAH. MHM.

GATES: PETER SERVED IN PENNSYLVANIA'S 82ND REGIMENT,

FROM NOVEMBER 22, 1864 TO JULY 13, 1865.

HIS SERVICE, WHILE BRIEF,

CAME AT A CRITICAL POINT IN THE WAR.

PETER MARCHED UNDER GENERAL ULYSSES S. GRANT

AND HE WAS WITH GRANT ON APRIL 9, 1865,

AT THE BATTLE OF APPOMATTOX COURTHOUSE,

AFTER WHICH GENERAL ROBERT E. LEE

SURRENDERED HIS ARMY, USHERING IN THE CLOSE

OF THE CIVIL WAR.

MOORE: THAT'S CRAZY. I HAD NO IDEA.

MY FAMILY IS GOING TO BE THRILLED.

I MEAN THAT'S A GREAT PART OF HISTORY.

GATES: I MEAN IF YOU HAD TO PICK A BATTLE TO BE PART OF

THAT WAS IT.

MOORE: THAT WOULD BE IT.

THAT WOULD BE IT IN TERMS OF AMERICAN BATTLE.

YEAH. THAT'S, THAT'S REALLY SOMETHING.

THAT'S PRETTY SPECIAL.

GATES: MY NEXT GUEST IS THE ARTIST KEHINDE WILEY.

HE'D ALREADY TOLD ME ABOUT THE STRONG POSITIVE INFLUENCE THAT

THE MILITARY HAD HAD ON HIS MOTHER.

BUT KEHINDE DIDN'T KNOW THAT HIS MOTHER WASN'T

THE FIRST SOLDIER IN HER FAMILY.

MOVING BACK TWO GENERATIONS, WE FOUND ANOTHER,

KEHINDE'S GREAT-GRANDFATHER, A MAN NAMED LEWIS STANDIFER,

WHO SERVED IN THE ARMY DURING WORLD WAR I,

AND HAD A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF EXPERIENCE.

WILEY: "DATE OF ARRIVAL, JULY 20, 1918.

NAME, STANDIFER, LEWIS."

GATES: THIS IS A LIST OF TROOPS WHO ARRIVED AT

NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA ON JULY 20, 1918.

WILEY: WOW.

GATES: AND YOUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER'S NAME

YOU JUST READ WAS ON THAT LIST.

WILEY: GREAT-GRANDFATHER. THAT'S EXTRAORDINARY.

GATES: LEWIS WAS ONE OFAPPROXIMATELY 370,000 BLACK MEN

WHO SERVED IN WORLD WAR I AND YOU...

WILEY: WOW.

GATES: YOU HAD NO IDEA.

WILEY: I HAD NO IDEA. THAT'S AMAZING.

GATES: YOUR MOM DOESN'T KNOW THIS,

SHE THINKS SHE IS THE FIRST PERSON IN YOUR FAMILY

TO HAVE SERVED IN THE MILITARY.

WILEY: INTERESTING.

GATES: THAT'S ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU CAN TELL HER.

(LAUGHS).

WHEN KEHINDE'S GREAT- GRANDFATHER WENT TO WAR,

THE U.S. ARMY, LIKE ALMOST ALL OF AMERICA, WAS SEGREGATED,

AND THAT DEFINED VIRTUALLY EVERY ASPECT OF HIS SERVICE.

LIKE MOST BLACK SOLDIERS, LEWIS WAS ASSIGNED TO THE

QUARTERMASTER CORPS, A NON-COMBAT UNIT,

RELEGATED TO SUPPLY TASKS.

HE SPENT HIS FIRST MONTH OF DUTY AT A TRAINING CAMP

IN TEXAS, WHERE SOME BLACK SOLDIERS

REPORTED BEING BEATEN.

FROM THERE, HE WAS SHIPPED TO NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA

AND THEN ON TO FRANCE,

WHERE HE WAS ASSIGNED AN UNENVIABLE JOB.

NOW KEHINDE, THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN FRANCE ABOUT

THREE MONTHS AFTER THE END OF THE WAR.

THEY SHOW TROOPS FROM YOUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER'S UNIT.

WILEY: OH, WOW.

GATES: THESE ARE PICTURES...

WILEY: THIS IS THE VERY SAME UNIT THAT HE SERVED IN.

GATES: THE SAME UNIT AT THE SAME TIME.

WILEY: OH, WOW.

GATES: THESE SOLDIERS ASSISTED IN REMOVING DEAD BODIES FROM

TEMPORARY GRAVES FOR REBURIAL IN ARMY CEMETERIES.

WILEY: HOW MACABRE.

GATES: CAN YOU IMAGINE?

WILEY: NO, NO. JESUS.

IT MAKES THE SMALL PROBLEMS OF EVERYDAY LIFE NOW JUST SEEM

SO MINISCULE IN COMPARISON.

I MEAN, TO DEAL WITH NOT ONLY THE STUFF THAT HE HAD TO DEAL

WITH IN TERMS OF RACISM FROM WHERE HE CAME FROM BUT JUST

THE PHYSICAL FACT AND THE PHYSICAL LABOR OF DEALING

WITH THAT AND THEN THE HAZARDS OF IT ALL.

IT JUST, IT ALMOST FEELS AS THOUGH NO ONE WAS PAYING

ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT HE WAS A HUMAN BODY TOO.

GATES: MHM.

WILEY: LIKE, WE'RE DIGGING OUT THESE DEAD BODIES BUT

WHAT ABOUT THIS BODY WHO'S DIGGING?

WHAT ABOUT HIS VULNERABILITY?

GATES: ALL TOLD, LEWIS SPENT ROUGHLY NINE MONTHS IN FRANCE.

BUT IF HISTORY IS ANY INDICATION,

HIS EXPERIENCE THERE WASN'T ENTIRELY NEGATIVE,

MANY AFRICAN AMERICAN SOLDIERS REPORTED FEELING THAT THEY

WERE TREATED BETTER BY THE WHITE FRENCH POPULATION THAN

THEY WERE TREATED BACK HOME, AND MANY APPRECIATED MEETING

BLACK PEOPLE FROM AFRICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME.

HOWEVER, WHEN LEWIS RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES,

IN JULY OF 1919, THOSE POSITIVE FEELINGS LIKELY

VANISHED QUICKLY.

THAT SUMMER WOULD BECOME INFAMOUS FOR ITS

INTENSE RACIAL VIOLENCE.

THERE WERE ANTI-BLACK RIOTS AND LYNCHINGS, ACROSS AMERICA,

MANY DIRECTED AT BLACK SOLDIERS,

SOME STILL IN UNIFORM.

WILEY: SO THEY WERE MAD BECAUSE BLACK AMERICAN MEN

WERE FEELING A SENSE OF INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY.

GATES: MM-HMM.

WILEY: SOMETHING THAT THEY HAD NEVER FELT IN AMERICA

BUT LIKE, NOW ON THEIR WAY HOME

YOU'RE ACTING UPPITY AND, YEAH.

GATES: THEY COULD SEE THAT THESE MEN WERE DIFFERENT.

WILEY: YEAH.

GATES: AND THEY KILLED THEM.

WILEY: HOW INTERESTING IS THAT.

THAT THAT STATE OF GRACE THAT THEY OCCUPY IS SOMETHING THAT

IS THEIR DEATH WARRANT.

GATES: MM-HMM. YEAH.

WILEY: WOW.

GATES: KEHINDE'S ANCESTOR WAS SPARED THE WORST OF THE

VIOLENCE BUT HE WAS UNDOUBTEDLY AWARE OF IT.

AND HE WOULD SPEND THE REST OF HIS LIFE WORKING AS A FARM

LABORER, SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WHOSE COUNTRY HE'D SERVED,

BUT WHO CHOSE NEVERTHELESS TO DENY HIM BASIC RIGHTS.

LISTENING TO THE DETAILS OF HIS STORY LEFT KEHINDE

STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND HOW LEWIS MIGHT HAVE FELT.

WILEY: THIS WHOLE THING SEEMS SO, WELL,

LET ME JUST USE MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.

THERE'S SOMETHING REALLY WRONG WITH THE FACT THAT WHEN

I DRIVE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE I FEEL REALLY ANXIOUS BECAUSE,

YOU KNOW, THERE'S A DIFFERENT DEMOGRAPHIC...

GATES: YEAH!

WILEY: AND I'M GOING TO LOOK A LITTLE BIT LIKE A STANDOUT.

GATES: RIGHT.

WILEY: AND IF THE POLICE HAPPEN TO SEE ME WILL THERE

BE A SENSE OF LIKE, ANXIETY OR WHAT HAVE YOU?

CAN YOU IMAGINE DURING THAT TIME?

GATES: MM.

WILEY: NOT JUST LIKE, POLICE VIOLENCE, BUT LIKE,

YOUR CASUAL CITIZEN FEELS AS THOUGH IT'S THEIR RIGHT AS,

AS, AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN TO PUT YOU IN YOUR PLACE,

TO, TO POLICE YOU.

GATES: MHM.

WILEY: IT MAKES ME FEEL INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL AND

INCREDIBLY SAD ABOUT THIS PART OF HISTORY.

HADER: YEAH, I, I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

GATES: LIKE KEHINDE AND JULIANNE,

BILL HADER IS DECIDEDLY UN-WARLIKE.

HE'S SOFT-SPOKEN, SELF-EFFACING,

AND GENTLE ABOVE ALL ELSE.

BUT BILL IS ABOUT TO DISCOVER THAT SOME OF HIS ANCESTORS HAD

TEMPERAMENTS THAT WERE VERY DIFFERENT THAN HIS OWN.

THE STORY BEGINS IN 1883, WITH A SHIP ARRIVING IN THE

PORT OF NEW YORK, FROM GERMANY.

ON BOARD WAS BILL'S GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

CARL HADER, AND HIS YOUNG FAMILY.

THAT IS THE PASSENGER LIST FOR A SHIP CALLED "THE NECKAR."

AND IT ARRIVED, BILL, IN NEW YORK CITY ON MAY 19, 1883.

HADER: WOW. "CARL HADER, 30 YEARS OLD, FARMER."

AND THAT IS "EMILIE HADER, 24 YEARS OLD." THAT'S INSANE.

GATES: WHAT'S IF FEEL LIKE SEEING THIS?

HADER: I'M JUST GOING TO SOUND SO NAIÏVE AND SILLY,

BUT, I MEAN, I DIDN'T EVEN THINK ABOUT,

"OH YEAH, THEY HAD TO COME OVER ON A SHIP."

GATES: YEAH. THEY HAD TO GET HERE.

HADER: LIKE THEY WERE IN GERMANY AND THEY

CAME OVER ON A SHIP. I KNEW NONE OF THIS.

I JUST KNEW MY LAST NAME SOUNDED GERMAN.

GATES: THE HADERS MADE THEIR WAY TO WISCONSIN,

A COMMON DESTINATION FOR GERMAN IMMIGRANTS,

AND QUICKLY SETTLED DOWN.

WITHIN A YEAR, CARL HAD APPLIED TO BECOME

AN AMERICAN CITIZEN.

BY 1910, HE AND HIS WIFE, AMELIA,

HAD HAD NINE CHILDREN TOGETHER INCLUDING BILL'S

GREAT-GRANDFATHER, ARTHUR...

THE FAMILY SEEMED TO BE THRIVING.

BUT ON APRIL 6, 1917, THE UNITED STATES ENTERED

WORLD WAR I, AGAINST GERMANY.

AND SUDDENLY, THE HADER'S WORLD WAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.

MUSIC BY WAGNER AND MENDELSON WAS TAKEN OUT

OF CONCERT PROGRAMS.

THOUGH RELATIVELY RARE, GERMAN-AMERICAN BUSINESSES

AND HOMES WERE SOMETIMES VANDALIZED AND

GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE ACCUSED OF BEING PRO-GERMAN AND IF SO

THEY WERE PUBLICLY RIDICULED AND IN AT LEAST ONE INSTANCE A

GERMAN-AMERICAN WAS LYNCHED.

HADER: WOW.

GATES: HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR FAMILY DEALT WITH THIS?

THEY CAME HERE WILLINGLY, THEY TOOK THE OATH OF ALLEGIANCE

AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY'RE AT WAR AND THEY

HAD FAMILY BACK THERE.

HADER: YEAH. THAT'S INSANE. GOSH.

GATES: WE WONDERED IF BILL'S ANCESTORS FOUND THEIR

LOYALTIES DIVIDED BETWEEN THEIR NEW HOME AND THEIR

FORMER HOMELAND.

THE ANSWER LAY IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES,

WHERE WE DISCOVERED THAT BILL'S GREAT-GRANDFATHER

ARTHUR VOLUNTEERED TO JOIN THE AMERICAN ARMY.

THAT IS HIS SERVICE RECORD.

HADER: "ARTHUR E. HADER. ENLISTED: APRIL 11, 1917."

GATES: AND WHAT'S COOL ABOUT THAT IS

THE UNITED STATES ENTERED THE WAR,

REMEMBER, ON APRIL 6.

ARTHUR JUMPED INTO THE WAR FIVE DAYS LATER.

HE WASN'T DRAFTED, MAN.

HE ENLISTED. HE CHOSE TO FIGHT.

HADER: WE ARE NOT ALIKE.

(LAUGHS).

WOW. THAT IS INSANE.

WOW. THAT'S REALLY WILD.

GATES: AND IT GIVES US SOME INSIGHT ABOUT HOW

THEY FELT ABOUT AMERICA. THEY WERE SUPER-PATRIOTS.

HADER: YEAH. I CAN'T, I HAD NO IDEA I HAD ANY,

UM, ANYBODY IN MY FAMILY WHO WAS IN WAR.

I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

GATES: EVER.

HADER: EVER. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT.

THAT'S CRAZY.

GATES: ARTHUR WAS ASSIGNED TO WISCONSIN'S 121ST FIELD

ARTILLERY, AND SET SAIL FOR FRANCE ON MARCH 4, 1918.

HE ARRIVED AS THE WAR, FAMOUSLY, WAS AT A STALEMATE.

FOR ALMOST THREE YEARS, GERMANY AND ITS ALLIES HAD

BEEN FIGHTING FRANCE, ENGLAND, AND THEIR ALLIES ALONG A MORE

OR LESS STATIC FRONT.

MILLIONS HAD DIED IN GRISLY TRENCH BATTLES,

YET THE FRONT HAD HARDLY MOVED.

ARTHUR'S BATTERY WAS HELD IN RESERVE, BEHIND THE LINES,

MILES FROM THE FIGHTING.

BUT HE DIDN'T STAY THERE LONG.

NOW, THIS IS A REPORT FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE

UNITED STATES ARMY, DATED OCTOBER 21, 1918.

HADER: NOW HE'S SOUNDING LIKE A HADER.

THIS IS GOOD.

GATES: WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THE TRANSCRIBED SECTION?

HADER: "MEN A.W.O.L. FROM THIS ORGANIZATION.

CORPORALS ARTHUR E. HADER...

ON THE NIGHT OF OCTOBER 15...

DISAPPEARED FROM THE BATTERY.

IT APPEARS THAT HE, ALONG WITH FOUR OTHERS

BOARDED A TRAIN SOME DISTANCE FROM THE STATION

AT THIS VILLAGE AND ARE ENDEAVORING TO

MAKE THEIR WAY TO THE FRONT," OH, "IT SEEMS THAT THESE MEN

WERE TIRED OF THE ROUTINE OF THE SERVICE HERE

AND DESIRED TO GET UP INTO MORE ACTIVE CONDITIONS."

GATES: YEAH, BILL.

RATHER THAN RUN AWAY FROM THE FRONT...

HADER: THEY RAN TO IT.

SO NEVER MIND. HE'S NOT LIKE ME AT ALL.

I THOUGHT HE WAS LIKE MEN AWOL.

I WAS LIKE THERE YOU GO. THAT SOUNDS LIKE ME.

HE WAS A MAN.

I'M A DESCENDANT OF AN ACTUAL LIKE, MAN.

THAT'S CRAZY.

GATES: HE WAS, HE WANTED, YOU KNOW, BRING IT ON.

AND HE WENT AWOL AND WENT STRAIGHT TO THE FRONT.

(LAUGHS).

EAGER TO FIGHT, ARTHUR AND HIS COMPANIONS HAD MADE THEIR WAY

TOWARDS THE FRONT, WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION!

LITTLE DID THEY KNOW, THEY WERE HEADING INTO A BLOODBATH.

THEY JOINED WHAT'S KNOWN AS THE MEUSE-ARGONNE OFFENSIVE,

THE DEADLIEST BATTLE ON FOREIGN SOIL IN THE HISTORY OF

THE UNITED STATES, WITH OVER 100,000 MEN KILLED OR WOUNDED.

CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THIS MUST HAVE BEEN LIKE FOR

YOUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER?

HADER: NO. THAT'S INSANE.

THAT'S CRAZY. NO. THAT'S INSANE.

GATES: AND HE WAS CRAZY ENOUGH OR BRAVE ENOUGH TO GO RUNNING

INTO THAT MADNESS.

HADER: HE RAN INTO IT.

GATES: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS GUY?

HADER: HE'S... MAN, I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M RELATED TO HIM.

I'M AFRAID TO GET ON THE FREEWAY IN LA.

GATES: RECORDS ARE UNCLEAR, BUT IT SEEMS THAT ARTHUR SPENT

ONLY A HANDFUL OF DAYS IN BATTLE BEFORE HE WAS

INTERCEPTED BY OFFICERS AND RETURNED TO THE REAR,

WHERE HE WAS LIGHTLY DISCIPLINED.

NONETHELESS, HE DID NOT ESCAPE UNHARMED.

ACCORDING TO BILL'S FATHER, ARTHUR WAS EXPOSED TO

MUSTARD GAS, A CHEMICAL WEAPON THAT WAS USED

EXTENSIVELY DURING THE WAR.

IT WAS FATAL IF YOU BREATHE TOO MUCH OF IT,

AND IT CAN ALSO DAMAGE YOUR VISION,

IN SOME CASES LEADING TO PERMANENT BLINDNESS.

AND THAT, APPARENTLY, IS WHAT HAPPENED TO ARTHUR.

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THAT STORY?

HADER: I DO REMEMBER MY DAD WHEN I WAS YOUNG SAYING THAT

HIS GRANDFATHER WAS BLIND.

GATES: UM-HUM.

YOUR FATHER SAYS THAT WHEN HE WAS A CHILD,

HE WAS ARTHUR'S "SEEING EYE DOG."

HADER: OH, WOW.

GATES: HE WOULD PICK ARTHUR UP AND ACCOMPANY HIM TO THE PUB.

HADER: WOW.

GATES: AN ESTIMATED 20,000 MEN WERE WOUNDED FROM MUSTARD GAS

DURING THE BATTLE OF MEUSE-ARGONNE.

AND SADLY, YOUR GREAT- GRANDFATHER WAS ONE OF THEM.

CAN YOU, IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS,

SEE YOURSELF DOING WHAT HE DID?

HADER: NO.

(LAUGHS).

NO. NO. NO.

IT TAKES A LOT OF BRAVERY AND ALSO JUST AT THAT TIME

HOW MUCH HE CARED ABOUT HIS COUNTRY.

I GUESS IT WAS HIS COUNTRY BUT HIS PARENTS AND BEING

FROM GERMANY AND EVERYTHING...

THAT MUST HAVE BEEN REALLY TOUGH.

GATES: TO BILL'S SURPRISE, ARTHUR WASN'T THE ONLY

SOLDIER IN HIS FAMILY TREE.

WHEN WE TURNED TO HIS MOTHER'S LINE, WE DISCOVERED MANY MORE,

AND, ONE WAS FORCED TO MAKE A CHOICE OVER HIS LOYALTY,

MUCH AS ARTHUR HAD DONE.

THE STORY CONCERNS BILL'S 3RD GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

A MAN NAMED THOMAS CONNER.

WE FOUND THOMAS IN THE 1860 CENSUS FOR LACLEDE COUNTY,

MISSOURI, WHERE HE WAS LISTED AS A 21-YEAR-OLD FARMER,

MARRIED, WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN.

THIS MEANT THAT FOUR YEARS LATER,

WITH THE CIVIL WAR RAGING, THOMAS WAS OF PRIME FIGHTING

AGE, AND FACED A FRIGHTENING DECISION.

MISSOURI WAS A SLAVE STATE,

ON THE BORDER BETWEEN THE NORTH AND THE SOUTH.

AND WHILE IT REMAINED PART OF THE UNION,

THE CONFEDERACY WAS EAGER TO CLAIM IT.

IN FACT, THE MAJORITY OF MEN WHO ENLISTED IN

LACLEDE COUNTY CHOSE TO FIGHT WITH THE REBELS.

WHICH LEFT BILL NERVOUSLY CONFRONTING A BIG QUESTION.

DID YOUR ANCESTOR GO TO THE NORTH OR DID YOUR ANCESTOR

GO TO THE SOUTH?

HADER: I DON'T KNOW.

I HOPE IT'S... I'M PRAYING IT'S NORTH.

(LAUGHS).

GATES: YOUR THIRD GREAT-GRANDFATHER THOMAS

ENTERED THE WAR ON THE SIDE OF THE UNION.

HADER: OH. WHEW.

(LAUGHS).

HADER: OKAY. SO FAR SO GOOD.

GATES: ALL RIGHT. LET'S FIND OUT WHAT HE DID.

COULD YOU PLEASE TURN THE PAGE?

HADER: DEFECTED? NO, I'M JOKING.

GATES: THOMAS JOINED THE 46TH MISSOURI INFANTRY,

WHICH FOUGHT A SERIES OF GUERRILLA BATTLES,

ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER OF HIS HOME STATE,

SOME OF THE FIERCEST COMBAT OF THE WAR'S FINAL YEAR.

OFTEN, IT WAS NEIGHBOR AGAINST NEIGHBOR,

FIGHTING HOUSE BY HOUSE.

THOMAS WAS LUCKY TO SURVIVE.

DID YOU EVER, EVER IN YOUR WILDEST IMAGININGS THINK THAT

ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'D INTRODUCE YOU TO TODAY IS THE

FACT THAT YOU COME FROM A MILITARY FAMILY ON

BOTH SIDES OF YOUR FAMILY?

HADER: NO. NO. NOT AT ALL.

GATES: AND THESE GUYS WERE SERIOUS FIGHTERS.

YOU KNOW, THEY WEREN'T CLERKS.

HADER: NO. THEY WERE IN IT.

THAT'S SO WILD.

GATES: HOW DO FAMILIES LOSE THE NAMES OF THESE PEOPLE?

HADER: I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S, LIKE, THIS MIGHT SEEM CRAZY,

JUST THE WORK THAT HAS TO GO INTO IT OR, UM,

YOU JUST GET CAUGHT UP IN YOUR OWN THING AND

WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

BUT I'M SO GRATEFUL TO HAVE THIS BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW

ANY OF IT AND I'M SURPRISED HOW, KIND OF, IT'S AFFECTED ME

BECAUSE I'M LIKE, KIND OF SPEECHLESS.

I DON'T REALLY KNOW WHAT TO SAY.

I DIDN'T KNOW ANY OF THIS.

GATES: WE'D ALREADY INTRODUCED KEHINDE WILEY TO HIS

GREAT-GRANDFATHER WHO SERVED IN WORLD WAR I AND ENDURED

THE INJUSTICE OF JIM CROW.

NOW WE HAD ANOTHER SOLDIER'S STORY TO TELL,

ABOUT A MAN WHO ENDURED EVEN MORE.

MOVING BACK ON HIS MOTHER'S LINE,

WE CAME TO KEHINDE'S SECOND GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

NOAH DEGRATE.

WHO PROVIDED US WITH AN IMMEDIATE SURPRISE.

WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THE TRANSCRIBED SECTION?

WILEY: "I ENLISTED IN COMPANY F OF 63RD REGISTRY,

US COLORED INFANTRY, A SHORT DISTANCE ABOVE

NATCHEZ, MISSISSIPPI. I WAS 18 YEARS OF AGE.

AT THE TIME OF ENLISTMENT, I WAS A SLAVE,

THE PROPERTY OF WILLIAM LANG, A PLANTER."

GATES: YOU READY FOR THIS? YOUR GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER

WAS A VETERAN OF THE CIVIL WAR.

WILEY: THAT'S CRAZY, THERE'S LIKE THIS NARRATIVE THAT'S

LIKE FOLLOWING THROUGH EVERY SINGLE GENERATION.

GATES: MHM.

WILEY: WARRIORS.

GATES: HE WAS A UNION SOLDIER.

DID YOU EVER IN YOUR WILDEST DREAMS THINK YOU HAD AN

ANCESTOR WHO FOUGHT WITH THE U.S. COLORED TROOPS,

AS THEY WERE CALLED?

WILEY: NO, I MEAN LIKE, THIS IS, THIS IS INTENSE!

GATES: NOAH ENLISTED IN JANUARY 1865,

AND SERVED DURING THE FINAL MONTHS OF THE WAR,

ONE OF ABOUT 175,000 BLACK MEN IN THE UNION ARMY.

HIS PENSION APPLICATION SHEDS LIGHT ON HIS SERVICE,

AND ALSO CONTAINS A REMARKABLE STORY ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO

HIM LATER IN LIFE.

FOLLOWING THE WAR, NOAH SETTLED IN TEXAS,

AND LIKE MANY NEWLY-FREED AFRICAN AMERICANS,

NOAH TOOK A NEW NAME: "NOAH DEGRATE." BUT IN THE ARMY,

HE'D BEEN ENROLLED UNDER THE NAME "NOAH LAND",

AND LATE IN HIS LIFE, WHEN HE TRIED TO GET HIS PENSION,

HE WAS TOLD THAT HE NEEDED WITNESSES TO ATTEST THAT

"NOAH LAND" AND "NOAH DEGRATE" WERE ONE AND THE SAME PERSON.

THIS WOULD CAUSE NOAH A WORLD OF TROUBLE.

WILEY: "AFFIANT SAYS THAT HE IS A POOR MAN,

UNABLE TO SECURE THE AMOUNT REQUIRED TO MAKE A TRIP TO SEE

THE ABOVE-NAMED PERSONS.

AFFIANT REQUESTS THAT HIS SAID CLAIM BE REFERRED TO THE

SPECIAL EXAMINATION DIVISION OF THE PENSION BUREAU.

UNLESS THIS IS DONE THE AFFIANT WILL FAIL IN SECURING

HIS PENSION SOLELY BECAUSE HE IS TOO POOR AND FINANCIALLY

UNABLE TO OBTAIN THE ADVANCE."

GATES: KEHINDE, YOUR GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER HAD

TO PROVE HIS IDENTITY TO GET HIS PENSION.

WILEY: HOW INTERESTING.

GATES: AND THIS IS LIKE, NO INTERNET, YOU KNOW.

WILEY: YEAH.

GATES: THIS IS LIKE, PEOPLE CAN'T EVEN READ AND WRITE.

WILEY: RIGHT. VOUCH FOR ME BASICALLY BECOMES THE...

GATES: AND HE'S GOT TO FIND THEM,

GET THEM TO WRITE LETTERS, RIGHT?

WILEY: YEAH.

GATES: AND THEN LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

WILEY: INTERESTING.

GATES: ACCORDING TO HIS APPLICATION,

NOAH SPENT YEARS TRYING TO GATHER THE WITNESSES

NECESSARY TO MAKE HIS CASE.

HE FACED A DAUNTING CHALLENGE.

HE WAS LIVING IN WACO, TEXAS, WHILE ONE OF HIS

BEST POTENTIAL WITNESSES, A MAN WITH WHOM HE'D SERVED,

WAS LIVING IN PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS.

RECORDS INDICATE THAT NOAH HAD LITTLE MONEY TO MAKE THE TRIP,

AND HE WAS ALSO IN POOR HEALTH.

BUT NOAH WAS A DETERMINED MAN.

WILEY: "APPEARED THIS DAY, DAVID DAVIS WHO DECLARES,

QUOTE, I BELONG TO COMPANY F, 63 REGIMENT USCT

DURING THE WAR, AND WASPERSONALLY ACQUAINTED WITH

NOAH LAND AND HE BELONGED TO THE SAME COMPANY I DID.

HE IS NOW SITTING WITH ME IN THE OFFICE WHILE I'M GIVING

THIS TESTIMONY AT PINE BLUFF, STATE OF ARKANSAS."

(LAUGHS).

THAT'S HILARIOUS.

GATES: HE FOUND A WAY TO MAKE THE TRIP TO ARKANSAS...

WILEY: THAT'S INSANE.

GATES: AND HE FOUND ONE OF HIS OLD COMRADES.

AND KEHINDE, I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS

IS 400 MILES FROM WACO, TEXAS.

WILEY: WOW.

GATES: AND WE DON'T KNOW HOW HE COULD HAVE AFFORDED SUCH A

JOURNEY BECAUSE THE RECORDS DON'T TELL.

WE KNOW HE'S VERY POOR.

WILEY: THAT MEANS YOU'RE WALKING.

THAT MEANS THAT HE SPENT MONTHS TRYING TO FIND THIS

PERSON AND MONTHS EVEN GETTING BACK TO WHERE

HE HAD TO GET TO.

GATES: YEAH!

WILEY: HOW AMAZING IS THAT?

GATES: THEN HE GOES BACK AND FILES THE CASE ONE MORE TIME.

LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENED.

WILEY: OKAY.

GATES: WOULD YOU PLEASE TURN THE PAGE?

WILEY: "PENSION FILE, 1897. ISSUED DECEMBER 14, 1897.

RATE AND PERIOD, $10."

GATES: MM-HM. NEARLY A YEAR AFTER NOAH FOUND DAVID DAVIS,

ALMOST FIVE YEARS AFTER HE FIRST FILED HIS APPLICATION,

YOUR ANCESTOR GOT HIS PENSION,

AND THEY BACKDATED IT TO WHEN HE FIRST APPLIED.

WILEY: FANTASTIC. SO HE WAS A FIGHTER.

GATES: ABSOLUTELY. ISN'T THAT COOL?

WILEY: THAT'S BEYOND COOL. THAT'S EPIC.

GATES: IT IS.

WILEY: THAT IS EPIC.

MOORE: NO, I KNOW SOMETHINGS BUT NOT, NOT A WHOLE LOT.

GATES: WE HAD ALREADY EXPLORED JULIANNE MOORE'S PATERNAL

ROOTS, AND RECOUNTED HER GREAT-GREAT GRANDFATHER'S

SERVICE IN TWO WARS.

NOW, TURNING TO THE MATERNAL SIDE OF HER FAMILY TREE,

WE BEGAN WITH WHAT SEEMED LIKE A FAR MORE PLACID STORY.

JULIANNE'S MOTHER, ANNE LOVE, IMMIGRATED TO THE UNITED

STATES FROM SCOTLAND IN 1951, WHEN SHE WAS TEN YEARS OLD.

SHE AND HER PARENTS SETTLED IN NEW JERSEY,

AND ANNE GREW UP TO LIVE THE AMERICAN DREAM.

SHE GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE, HAD A SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS A

SOCIAL WORKER, AND RAISED A FAMILY DESPITE THE CHALLENGES

OF BEING MARRIED TO A SOLDIER.

HER EXPERIENCES EVEN INSPIRED JULIANNE TO

WRITE A CHILDREN'S BOOK.

IN 2013 YOU WROTE A BOOK CALLED,

MY MOM IS A FOREIGNER BUT NOT TO ME.

MOORE: MM-HM.

GATES: WHAT WERE YOU TRYING TO SAY WITH THIS BOOK?

MOORE: IT'S ABOUT BEING FIRST GENERATION.

MY FRIENDS WOULD SAY, YOU KNOW,

"WHY DOES YOUR MOTHER TALK SO FUNNY?"

SO, THE BOOK IS ABOUT HOW THE PERSON WHO IS FOREIGN TO

EVERYONE ELSE IS THE MOST

FAMILIAR PERSON IN THE WORLD TO YOU.

SHE'S YOUR MOTHER.

GATES: I WAS ASTONISHED.

I ONLY JUST REALIZED THAT YOU BECAME A BRITISH CITIZEN

IN THE YEAR 2011.

MOORE: YEAH.

GATES: WHY DID YOU DO THAT?

MOORE: FOR MY MOTHER. I MEAN, I KNEW I'D CRY.

I LOST MY MOTHER SUDDENLY SIX YEARS AGO, SO IT WAS FOR HER.

GATES: OH, I'M SO SORRY.

MOORE: YEAH. SHE WAS A GREAT MOTHER.

GATES: YEAH.

KNOWING HOW CLOSE JULIANNE WAS TO HER MOTHER,

I WAS EAGER TO SHARE OUR DISCOVERIES ABOUT

HER MATERNAL ROOTS.

THOSE ARE YOUR GRANDPARENTS, YOUR MOTHER'S PARENTS,

HENRY MCNEIL LOVE AND FLORA MCMILLAN MCLEAN.

MOORE: RIGHT.

GATES: ON THEIR WEDDING DAY. AND YOU KNEW THEM BOTH.

WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER MOST ABOUT THEM?

MOORE: THEY HAD A RANCH HOUSE IN BURLINGTON, NEW JERSEY,

AND IT UHM, THEY HAD ALL THIS KIND OF SPONGY GRASS AND THEY

ALSO HAD A TRELLIS AND KEPT A LITTLE BIRDBATH AND THESE

THINGS ON THEIR LAWN, AND IT ALWAYS SEEMED REALLY WEIRD

TO ME UNTIL I WENT TO SCOTLAND AND I REALIZED THAT

THEY WERE TRYING TO RECREATE SCOTLAND IN THEIR FRONT YARD

IN NEW JERSEY.

BUT THEY WERE GREAT AND VERY, VERY SCOTTISH.

GATES: I WAS STRUCK BY THE FACT THAT JULIANNE'S

GRANDPARENTS' LIVES HAD BEEN TOUCHED BY WAR,

JUST AS HER FATHER'S WAS.

HENRY AND FLORA WERE LIVING IN THE SMALL SHIPYARD TOWN OF

GREENOCK, SCOTLAND, WHEN WORLD WAR II CAME

LITERALLY TO THEIR DOOR.

ON THE NIGHT OF MAY 6, 1941, THE GERMAN AIRFORCE

LAUNCHED A BOMBING ATTACK.

FOR TWO DAYS, HITLER'S WAR MACHINE WREAKED HAVOC,

MORE THAN 200 PEOPLE WERE KILLED,

HUNDREDS INJURED AND WHOLE SECTIONS OF THE TOWN LEVELED.

WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THE TRANSCRIBED SECTION?

MOORE: "NIGHTS OF TERROR: THREE BURGHS HIT HARD IN

MERCILESS RAIDS." FEW TOWNS IN BRITAIN HAVE YET BEEN SO

SEVERELY BLITZED AS WAS GREENOCK ON THE TERRIFYING

NIGHTS LAST MONTH WHEN HIGH EXPLOSIVE AND INCENDIARY BOMBS

WERE RAINED ON THE TOWN." THAT IS TERRIBLE, OH MY GOSH.

GATES: THE ATTACK WAS PART OF AN EIGHT MONTH LONG CAMPAIGN,

KNOWN AS THE BLITZ.

ITS GOAL WAS TO FORCE GREAT BRITAIN TO SURRENDER BY

TERRORIZING CIVILIANS AND DESTROYING THE

COUNTRY'S INFRASTRUCTURE.

DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHY THE NAZI'S WOULD HAVE TARGETED

THE SMALL SCOTTISH CITY OF GREENOCK?

MOORE: SHIPBUILDING.

IT WAS WHERE THEY BUILT ALL THE SHIPS FOR THE WAR.

GATES: ABSOLUTELY.

GREENOCK'S MAJOR INDUSTRY WAS SHIPBUILDING.

AND PHOTOS ON THE LEFT SHOW THE TOLL THAT THIS BOMBING

TOOK ON GREENOCK, AND YOUR MOTHER,

WHO WAS NINE MONTHS OLD.

MOORE: YEAH.

GATES: AND YOUR GRANDPARENTS LIVED THROUGH THIS.

MOORE: WOW. WOW.

GATES: THE BLITZ HAD A PROFOUND IMPACT ON

JULIANNE'S GRANDFATHER HENRY.

HE JOINED THE HOME GUARD, A FORCE OF CIVILIAN VOLUNTEERS

THAT ASSISTED IN PATROLLING AND PROTECTING

THE BRITISH HOME FRONT.

WE FOUND A CERTIFICATE THAT HONORED HIS SERVICE.

MOORE: WOW. "LETTER OF THE HOME GUARD, 1944.

IN THE YEARS WHEN OUR COUNTRY WAS IN MORTAL DANGER

HENRY MCNEIL LOVE, GAVE GENEROUSLY OF HIS TIME AND

POWERS TO MAKE HIMSELF READY FOR DEFENSE BY FORCE OF ARMS

AND WITH IT HIS LIFE IF NEED BE."

GATES: SIGNED.

MOORE: SIGNED "KING GEORGE".

GATES: KING GEORGE.

MOORE: MY GOODNESS. I HAD NO IDEA.

GATES: WHAT'S IT LIKE TO SEE THAT?

MOORE: AMAZING.

(LAUGHS).

IT ACTUALLY MAKES ME FEEL MUCH MORE CONNECTED TO MY

SCOTTISH SIDE OF THE FAMILY.

GATES: RETURNING TO BILL HADER,

WE'D UNCOVERED ONE MORE SOLDIER'S STORY,

A STORY THAT STRETCHES BACK TO THE FOUNDING OF

THE UNITED STATES.

BILL'S MATERNAL 6TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER WAS A

MAN NAMED WILLIAM SIMMS.

WILLIAM WAS ROUGHLY 44 YEARS OLD WHEN THE

REVOLUTIONARY WAR BROKE OUT IN 1775.

BUT DESPITE HIS AGE, WILLIAM SIGNED UP TO

FIGHT FOR THE REBELS.

YOUR SIXTH GREAT-GRANDFATHER, BILL,

WAS AN ALBEMARLE COUNTY MILITIA MAN,

WHO FOUGHT IN THE 6TH VIRGINIA REGIMENT AND WAS STATIONED

JUST OUTSIDE WILLIAMSBURGDURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

HADER: WOW.

GATES: AS IT TURNS OUT, BILL'S ANCESTOR WOULD SOON LEAVE

WILLIAMSBURG FOR SOME SERIOUS COMBAT DUTY.

HE WAS INVOLVED IN A NUMBER OF SIGNIFICANT BATTLES

DURING THE WAR.

HE FOUGHT AT THE SIEGE OF CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

AND AT THE BATTLE OF MONMOUTH, NEW JERSEY.

HIS UNIT ALSO SERVED AT THE BATTLE OF TRENTON,

WHICH MEANS THAT HE MOST LIKELY CROSSED THE ICY DELAWARE RIVER

UNDER GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON'S COMMAND,

PART OF A CHRISTMAS NIGHT MANEUVER THAT ENABLED THE

CONTINENTAL ARMY TO WIN ONE OF ITS MOST RESOUNDING VICTORIES.

HADER: THAT'S INSANE.

GATES: YOU ARE THE DESCENDANT OF A PATRIOT.

HADER: I DESCEND FROM ALL THESE TOUGH GUYS,

THAT'S HILARIOUS.

GATES: YEAH. YEAH.

BUT WHILE WILLIAM SIMMS FOUGHT FOR LIBERTY,

HE WAS ALSO SIMULTANEOUSLY INVOLVED WITH THE MOST

PECULIAR PARADOX OF OUR NATION'S FOUNDING, SLAVERY.

THIS IS ANOTHER DOCUMENT FROM 1782

FROM ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VIRGINIA.

WOULD YOU PLEASE READ THE TRANSCRIBED PORTION?

HADER: ALRIGHT.

"WILLIAM SIMMS, 9 SLAVES, 20 CATTLE, 6 HORSES."

WOW, HE OWNED SLAVES.

THAT'S TOO BAD. WOW.

GATES: WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO SEE THAT,

TO KNOW THAT YOUR ANCESTORS OWNED OTHER PEOPLE?

HADER: NOT GOOD. FEELS TERRIBLE.

I'M GLAD THE OTHER GUYS THOUGH, DOWN THE LINE THOUGH,

FOUGHT FOR THE UNION.

THAT'S SO CRAZY. THAT IS INSANE.

GATES: IT'S NOT TERRIBLY SURPRISING THAT WILLAIM

OWNED SLAVES.

AFTER ALL, HE WAS A FARMER IN VIRGINIA,

THE BIGGEST SLAVE STATE IN THE NEW NATION.

MANY OF HIS NEIGHBORS, INCLUDING FOUNDING FATHERS

GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THOMAS JEFFERSON,

WERE SLAVE-OWNERS TOO.

EVEN THOUGH SLAVERY WAS A FUNDAMENTAL VIOLATION

OF THE IDEA THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.

THIS CONTRADICTION LIES AT THE HEART OF OUR NATION'S BIRTH,

AND BILL FOUND IT SOBERING TO LEARN THAT HIS OWN ANCESTOR

WAS AMONG THOSE WHO EMBODIED IT.

DOES IT CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY?

HADER: YEAH. YOU KNOW, IT PERSONALIZES IT.

IT'S JUST LIKE ANYTHING, YOU KNOW.

GATES: MHM.

HADER: I WANT TO READ UP ON THIS, I WANT TO,

I WANT TO LEARN MORE.

GATES: WE HAD A FINAL STORY FOR BILL ABOUT ANOTHER

TOUGH GUY IN HIS FAMILY TREE.

MOVING ALONG ON HIS MATERNAL LINE,

WE CAME TO A MAN NAMED HENRY BROCKMAN,

HENRY IS ALMOST CERTAINLY,BILL'S EIGHTH GREAT-GRANDFATHER.

HE WAS BORN IN ENGLAND, AROUND THE YEAR 1647.

WE FOUND HIM LIVING IN THE COLONY OF MARYLAND IN THE

1660'S AS AN INDENTURED SERVANT,

MEANING HE'D LIKELY HAD A VERY CHALLENGING YOUTH.

AT THE TIME, INDENTURED SERVANTS WERE CRUCIAL TO

MARYLAND'S ECONOMY.

THEY GENERALLY WORKED ON PLANTATIONS,

ALONGSIDE AFRICAN SLAVES,

UNDER FIXED-TERM LABOR CONTRACTS.

MANY HAD EXCHANGED THEIR WORK FOR PASSAGE TO AMERICA,

BUT THEY WERE ALL LIVING IN BONDAGE,

OFTEN UNDER HARSH CONDITIONS.

SO HARSH, IN FACT, THAT FOUR OUT OF EVERY TEN INDENTURED

SERVANTS DIED BEFORE THEIR CONTRACTS WERE COMPLETE.

WE WONDERED HOW BILL'S ANCESTOR FARED.

BY 1674, YOUR 8TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

HENRY BROCKMAN, HAD WORKED OFF PAYMENT AND HAD RECEIVED

50 ACRES OF LAND IN EXCHANGE.

HADER: WOW.

GATES: YOUR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN HERE FOREVER!

(LAUGHS).

HADER: THAT'S WILD.

GATES: FOREVER!

HADER: THAT IS WILD.

HENRY BROCKMAN. GOOD JOB MAN.

GATES: IN THE END, HENRY BROCKMAN WAS JUST A SMALL PART

OF AN ENORMOUS PAPER TRAIL THAT BILL'S ANCESTORS LEFT

BEHIND.... ALL TOLD, BILL HAS ONE OF THE MOST EXTENSIVE

FAMILY TREES THAT WE'VE EVER BEEN ABLE TO PIECE TOGETHER,

AND IT CULMINATES IN ANOTHER SET OF WARRIORS.

HADER: EDWARD I, KING OF ENGLAND.

(LAUGHS).

GATES: THAT'S YOUR FAMILY, MAN.

CHARLEMAGNE, THE FAMED LEADER OF THE HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE.

(LAUGHS).

BILL HADER, YOU ARE LOOKING AT YOUR 40TH GREAT-GRANDFATHER.

HADER: WHAT?

(LAUGHS).

GATES: HE WAS HAILED AS THE FATHER OF EUROPE.

HADER: I'M JUST BLOWN AWAY.

THE CONQUEROR OF EUROPE.

GEEZ, MY GOSH.

GATES: MHMM.

HADER: I COULDN'T EVEN GET THE COFFEEMAKER

TO WORK THIS MORNING.

GATES: THE PAPER TRAIL HAD NOW RUN OUT FOR

ALL THREE OF MY GUESTS.

IT WAS TIME TO SEE WHAT DNA COULD TELL US ABOUT

THEIR MORE DISTANT ROOTS.

FOR JULIANNE AND KEHINDE, THE RESULTS CONFIRMED

WHAT WE'D FOUND IN THE RECORDS.

99.9% EUROPEAN.

MOORE: I AM SHOCKED. I AM ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED.

WILEY: SO ALL I SEE HERE IS AFRICA.

GATES: 95.8% AFRICAN.

YOU GOT A LOT OF AFRICAN ANCESTRY.

WILEY: THAT'S PRETTY KINDA COOL.

GATES: THAT'S PRETTY COOL.

WILEY: THAT'S PRETTY COOL.

GATES: BUT FOR BILL, OUR TESTS ALSO REVEALED SOMETHING

TOTALLY UNEXPECTED.

HADER: I'M GOING TO TURN THE PAGE AND THERE'S GOING TO BE

A DINOSAUR THERE.

GATES: YOU GOT SOME BROTHER IN THERE.

I MEAN, THAT'S AMAZING.

THAT IS AFRICAN DNA.

THAT IS BLACK SUB-SAHARAN DNA

INHERITED FROM YOUR MOTHER'S SIDE.

IN THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE AMERICAN COLONIES AFRICAN

SLAVES AND INDENTURED SERVANTS LIVED AND WORKED SIDE BY SIDE.

HADER: YEAH, BROCKMAN.

(LAUGHS).

GATES: WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME DOWN A LOT OF SNEAKING AND

CREEPING GOING ON UP IN THERE.

HADER: BROCKMAN. "HENRY!"

GATES: MY TIME WITH MY GUESTS WAS NOW AT ITS END,

LOOKING OVER THEIR FULL FAMILY TREES ONE LAST TIME,

I WAS STRUCK BY THE SHEER NUMBER OF ANCESTORS WE'D

UNCOVERED WHO SERVED AND SACRIFICED DURING WARTIME.

THE SCOPE OF IT ALL WAS DEEPLY MOVING TO ME.

AND I COULD TELL THAT MY GUESTS WERE

EQUALLY MOVED AS WELL.

WILEY: IT MAKES ME FEEL, UM, ENGAGED IN SOMETHING LARGER.

IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE I'M STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS

OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE THE HARD WORK.

MOORE: THIS IS REALLY EXTRAORDINARY BECAUSE

I THINK THERE IS SO MUCH ABOUT BEING ALIVE THAT'S A MYSTERY,

SO IT'S NICE WHEN YOU GATHER MORE INFORMATION

ABOUT YOURSELF.

GATES: DOES IT CHANGE ANYTHING ABOUT HOW YOU SEE YOURSELF?

HADER: YEAH.

I MEAN I AM STILL PROCESSING IT, BUT, YEAH, NO,

JUST TO KNOW THAT I CAME FROM THESE PEOPLE WHO, UM,

VERY COURAGEOUS AND YOU KNOW,

FOUGHT FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVED IN

AND LOVED THIS COUNTRY SO MUCH.

THEY DID STUFF.

THEY REALLY GOT IN THERE AND MADE THINGS HAPPEN,

EVEN WHEN THEY WERE TOLD NOT TO.

GATES: YEAH. THAT'S RIGHT.

HADER: AND JUST TO SEE WHERE YOU COME FROM AND TO SEE

THE HARDSHIPS EVERYBODY WENT THROUGH TO BE,

TO KNOW WHERE YOU'RE AT.

I JUST DON'T THINK PEOPLE THINK ABOUT IT THAT OFTEN.

GATES: WILL YOU THINK ABOUT IT NOW?

HADER: OH, 100%.

GATES: THAT'S THE END OF OUR JOURNEY WITH

BILL, KEHINDE, AND JULIANNE.

JOIN ME NEXT TIME WHEN WE UNLOCK THE SECRETS OF THE PAST

FOR NEW GUESTS ON ANOTHER EPISODE OF FINDING YOUR ROOTS.

NARRATOR: NEXT TIME ON "FINDING YOUR ROOTS"

ACTORS LUPITA NYONGOÓ.

NYONGOÓ: OH MY GOODNESS! I DID NOT KNOW THAT!

NARRATOR: SCARLETT JOHANSSON.

JOHANSSON: WE ARE ALL APRODUCT OF THIS BIG MELTING POT.

NARRATOR: AND CHEF LIDIA BASTIANICH.

BASTIANICH: IT WAS A SCARY TIME.

NARRATOR: ANCESTORS WHO FLED...

JOHANSSON: IT MUST HAVE BEEN HELL.

NARRATOR: ESCAPED...

BASTIANICH: THAT BORDER REALLY MEANT A DIVISION.

NARRATOR: AND TOOK A CHANCE.

GATES: YOUR FATHERS STORY IS A MIRACLE.

NYONGOÓ: HE'S MY HERO.

NARRATOR: ON THE NEXT, "FINDING YOUR ROOTS".

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