Jesse Williams learned a surprising fact about his ancestral roots on the latest episode of PBS’s Finding Your Roots.
The Cabin in the Woods actor found out the truth about his great-great grandfather on the episode that aired on Tuesday, January 23, 2024
PEOPLE magazine offered an exclusive sneak peek as the program’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., revealed to the Grey's Anatomy alum that Williams’ great-great grandfather, Isaac was a black man who was “almost certainly born into slavery.”
“But as the census shows, when freedom came, Isaac transformed his life. He learned to read, became a landowner, married and raised 10 children,” Gates Jr. further added.
For the 42-year-old actor who taught African and American history in low-income public schools for several years before he found his break in the entertainment industry as a successful actor, this discovery holds special significance.
“Wow. Got a huge family. All this property. Can read and write. This is an incredible turn of events despite just unfathomable opposition,” he said.
“I feel lucky to be able to put a point on it and be able to name it and have a place on the map to point to something to explore further and share with my children," he further stated.
"It's so much different to be able to have any level of — any level of — precision, any level of actual naming, so that I can sit with it and think about it and say his name and take them with me now. It's a big deal,” Williams explained as he clarified the reason as to why this discovery was so important to him.
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