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Roots and identity

Roots and identity

Ever since the miniseries "Roots" was shown on ABC in 1977, Americans have demonstrated a keen interest in finding out more about where they came from and the names and circumstances of their ancestors.

Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. is fulfilling that longing in the latest installment of the PBS series "Finding Your Roots." Next to "Downton Abbey," which is again drawing large audiences in its sixth and final season, Mr. Gates' program (premiering Jan 5) is the best and most compelling television you will ever see.

The greatest contribution of this show is that it helps viewers see beyond externals -- such as race and politics...

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