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Our Diverse Nation

Does it matter where you come from?

We think of the United States as a nation of immigrants. Most of us trace our ancestors to foreign lands, and many devote great time and resources to searching for our roots. DNA technology has made it possible for people to learn what regions their ancestors came from. For the descendants of enslaved people, these connections are unprecedented. Colonial Williamsburg is a place where people can encounter the Revolutionary story that unites us as Americans. Does our national unity depend on our diverse family stories?

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Why wouldn’t you want to know who your ancestors were, why you are the way you are. I’ve wondered this a long, long time . . . – Tom Joyner (from PBS’ “African-American Lives”)
I went into this thinking I’m not connected to anything historical. I was terribly wrong. Thrillingly . . . I have real roots. I have belonging.” –Sarah Jessica Parker (from NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”)
I know the path that I walked and I can look back and see the footprints that got me to where I am today. – Don Cheadle (from PBS’ “African-American Lives”)
It opened my heart in a way I did not expect.” –Rosie O’Donnell (from NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”)
Of course it matters where we come from. Though we are of one human family tree, in the very long run, our cultures vary greatly. Only in knowing and valueing our individual roots, as well are ackknowleging that all come from the same early hominids, can any mutuallity take place while nurturing individualism as well! But I really do like the HUMAN GENOME PROJECT too!
By understanding the diversity of backgrounds we become tolerant and we also discover commonalities that bind us together.

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