Harvard’s Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ show Finding Your Roots is back, and Tuesday night he takes Keenan Ivory Wayans, Shonda Rhimes, and Maya Rudolph through their family histories. While Dr. Gates’ team always manages to uncover some amazing stories, Rudolph was overwhelmed by her ancestors’ plight.
During the episode, Rudolph, the biracial daughter of singer Minnie Riperton and producer Richard Rudolph, admits that she grew up feeling “a little orphaned by the idea of [her] heritage.”
Looking into Rudolph’s maternal lineage, Dr. Gates uncovered two relatives, Manuel Grigsby and Mary Thurman, who were born into slavery and owned by John Warren Grigsby.
While Manuel’s and Mary’s names weren’t listed in Grigsby’s records, Gates pointed to a five-year-old boy, which was most likely Manuel, listed among Grigsby’s property and Rudolph is moved to tears.
“That breaks my heart. I just think of my kids. That’s really hard to see. Wow. I just can’t believe what I’m looking at.”
Take a look.