LeVar Burton Learns He’s Descended From a Confederate Soldier on ‘Finding Your Roots’ [Video] | lovebscott.com

LeVar Burton Learns He’s Descended From a Confederate Soldier on ‘Finding Your Roots’ [Video]

LeVar Burton made a shocking discovery about his bloodline here in America.

via: Today

Burton got hit with a one-two punch while tracing his family’s ancestry on the Jan. 16 episode of PBS’ hit series “Finding Your Roots.”

Burton rose to fame as a child actor in the TV adaptation of Alex Haley’s “Roots,” the show that host Henry Louis Gates cited as an inspiration for the PBS show, and went on to star in “Star Trek” and host “Reading Rainbow.”

On the PBD show, he discovered a hidden family secret. Burton learned that a great-great-grandmother on his mother’s side, Mary Sills, was raised by a man she thought was her biological father, but wasn’t. (Burton knew Sills when he was a young boy).

Sills was the biological daughter of a white farmer named James Henry Dixon who had a wife and family at the time of her birth.

“And she was the other family on the other side,” Burton said in shock.

“Were you expecting that? Did you have any idea you had a white ancestor?” Gates asked the star.

The 66-year-old shook his head and laughed.

“No, no. I had no idea. So Granny was half white. Wow,” he said.

Then, Gates revealed that Dixon served in the Confederate Army as a teenager.

“Are you kidding me? Oh my God, oh my God. I did not see this coming,” Burton said.

Gates said that Dixon likely never saw battle since he was a part of the junior reserves, which was mostly used for guard duty. However, he noted that Dixon still served in an army whose goal was to protect slavery. Then, later in life, Dixon had a child with a woman who was born into slavery.

“I often wonder about white men of the period and how they justify to themselves their relations with black women, especially those in an unbalanced power dynamic. There has to be a powerful disconnect created emotionally and mentally,” Burton said while processing the news.

“So it’s possible in my mind that he could’ve contemplated it and was conflicted at worst, maybe repentant at best. And then there’s the possibility that he didn’t think about it at all,” he continued.

“Right and we’ll never know. They could’ve been in love, it could’ve been something terrible. We don’t know,” Gates replied.

Burton was left floored by the discoveries that Gates and his team made.

“Now I’d have fought you five minutes ago if you’d told me that I had a white great-great-grandfather,” he said.

“You can fight me, but it’s the truth and ain’t nothing you can do about it,” Gates teased.

Keeping up with their playful banter, Burton referenced the character he once played on “Roots.”

“What? Kunta got white ancestry? What? Come on now, Skip,” he says.

All kidding aside, Gates was curious to know how it made Burton feel to hear that he had a member of the Confederate Army in his family’s ancestry.

“There’s some conflict roiling inside of me right now, but also oddly enough I feel a pathway opening up … In this now moment, I believe that as Americans, we need to have this conversation about who we are and how we got here. But yet I see that we are so polarized politically and racially,” he said.

Gates agreed and says, “Right, we’re not talking to each other.”

“And so I’ve been looking for an entry point to talk to white America,” Burton explained.

“Well that door just opened,” Gates replied.

“Here it is,” Burton said.

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