Ford has joined forces with PBS to bring Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. back next week for a second season. The 10-part series finds “Skip” Gates continuing on his quest to—as he puts it—“get into the DNA of American culture.” By weaving a group of celebrity stories together, each episode takes viewers on a journey through layers of ancestral history, uncovering familial secrets.
Starting next Tuesday, September 23, viewers will learn more about the heritage and ancestries of 30 of today’s leading entertainers, athletes, chefs and media personalities, including Nas, Derek Jeter, Courtney B. Vance, Anna Deavere Smith and Khandi Alexander.
“This is one of the most fascinating ways history is uncovered, a true example of the significance our past plays in where we are today,” says Shawn Thompson, manager of Ford Multicultural Marketing. “The role Professor Gates is undertaking to show how all Americans are connected is something we—as a company—can stand by. Ford is thrilled to be a part of this project.”
Each hour-long episode will highlight three celebrity guests bound together by an intimate, sometimes hidden link. With the help of a team of genealogists, Dr. Gates travels thousands of years into the past to discover the origins of today’s game changers.
In addition, each episode will feature a 30-second spot that looks back at the history of Henry Ford and his visionary, family-owned company. For Gates, one of Henry Ford’s lasting contributions was his willingness to pay a fair wage to African-American workers employed in his factories, which led Southern sharecroppers to Detroit as part of the early century’s great migration.As part of Ford’s support, the Ford brand has created an original digital content series that will also launch on YouTube next. Their 10-part series will highlight individual user stories as the featured guests share the impact their family history has had on their lives. In addition, Ford and Thirteen (the flagship station of PBS) will team up on a live online screening and chat Sunday, September 21, whereby fans of Finding Your Roots will have the chance to interact and receive behind-the-scenes access to the premiere episode in a real-time environment.
“Our collaboration with Thirteen on this program is rooted in our shared commitment to empower, as well as our goals as a company to go further when it comes to not only our products, but our communities,” says Ford’s Shawn Thompson. “We are very excited about the airing of the first episode, and the opportunity we have to share a slice of Ford’s rich history with the viewers of this award-winning program.”
Finding Your Roots kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. ET and will run until Tuesday, Nov. 25.