What made America? What makes us? These two questions are at the heart of FACES OF AMERICA WITH HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR. Building on the success of his series AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES (called by The New York Times “the most exciting and stirring documentary on any subject to appear on television in a long time”) and AFRICAN AMERICAN LIVES 2, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. again turns to the latest tools of genealogy and genetics to explore the family histories of 12 renowned Americans. The series premieres nationally Wednesdays, February 10-March 3, 2010 from 8-9 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).
Looking beyond the African-American experience to the wider immigrant story, Professor Gates unravels the American tapestry, following the threads of his guests’ lives back to their earliest origins around the globe. Along the way, the many stories he uncovers — of displacement and homecoming, of material success and dispossession, of assimilation and discrimination — illuminate the American experience. Professor Gates’ guests include professor and poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and read the poem at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, chef Mario Batali, comedian Stephen Colbert, novelist Louise Erdrich, journalist Malcolm Gladwell, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, director Mike Nichols, Her Majesty Queen Noor, television host/heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, actress Meryl Streep, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.