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Regina King Sheds ‘Happy Tears’ After Learning of Ancestor’s Impactful Act (Exclusive)

Regina King is the latest celebrity to go on her own Finding Your Roots journey. In an exclusive sneak peek from Tuesday’s episode, King receives some news about the important action that one of her ancestors di lei took shortly after slavery was abolished. While talking to host Henry Louis Gates Jr., the actor becomes emotional and cries “happy tears” after hearing about her ancestor’s legacy of hers.

Gates Jr. begins by sharing that King’s third great-grandfather performed a rare action during his lifetime. He explained that two years after the Civil War and following the ratification of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, her ancestor di lei registered to vote. The host said that King’s relative, despite being illiterate, registered to vote as soon as it was legal for him to do so, which was made possible by the Reconstruction Act that was passed in 1867. Gates Jr. said that it’s quite “rare” to be able to show someone the actual voter registration certificate, as they were able to do in this case with King.

The Oscar winner began to get emotional as Gates Jr. reflected on her ancestor’s life. Although, she noted that they were “happy tears,” adding, “Because he understood the importance of that and what that meant. And like you said, even though he couldn’t read and he couldn’t write, he could feel. ” King then shared that she was surprised to hear this news, saying that she wasn’t entirely sure what she expected to learn while sitting down for Finding Your Roots. But, she was pleasantly surprised about what she did learn.

The next episode of Finding Your Roots will air on PBS on Tuesday at 8 pm ET. In addition to King, the episode will also feature Damon Lindelof, whom the actor has worked with on both Watchmen and The Leftovers. Both King and Lindelof will sit down with Gates Jr. to uncover the most amazing facts about their families. The current season, which will consist of ten episodes, launched this past January. As for what the series covers, Gates Jr. put it best when he released a statement to announce Season 8, for KPBS.

“Our guests – and their ancestors – embody what Finding Your Roots and the American Experience are all about: America is a nation of immigrants, willing and unwilling, but at the level of the genome, despite our apparent differences, we are 99% the same, “his statement read.” Each of us is complicated in our own unique ways, but each of us descends from ancestors who have a story to tell and the goal of FINDING YOUR ROOTS is to allow them, at long last, to tell those stories

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