Pocahontas, Edward Norton's 12th great-grandmother, also enslaved people

Pocahontas, Edward Norton's 12th great-grandmother, also enslaved people

Updated on January 04, 2023 16:20 PM by Laura Mendes

The hit PBS show Finding Your Roots Season 2 premiered on Tuesday, and Norton revealed that he was a direct descendant of Pocahontas. The 53-year-old actor also learned that his ancestors were once enslavers from his host and historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. In the show's ninth season, best known for its examination of celebrities' family ancestry, the Golden Globe winner kicked off with her role in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. As part of his ancestral research, the award recipient discovered that his 12th great-grandmother was Pocahontas, the historical figure associated with the Jamestown colonial settlement in Virginia that had a monumental impact on history. According to the source, the actor had expressed that this was the furthest back you could go unless you were a Viking. In addition, the Primal Fear star explained, "It helps you realize how small your part is in the whole." By marrying tobacco planter, John Rolfe in 1614, Edward was directly descended from Pocahontas. She died three years later, in 1617.

New discoveries gave him discomfort

(Image Credits: The Hollywood Reporter.com)

He admitted being uncomfortable after discovering another piece of information. A photo of a family with a husband and wife, and their five daughters, the oldest of whom is only ten, was shown later to the actor. He was informed by the Harvard professor and host of Finding Your Roots that his ancestors once enslaved the family. Henry replied ‘these things are uncomfortable, and everyone should be uncomfortable with them.' Edward expressed his feelings after learning the information. ‘It is not a judgment against you, but it is a judgment against the history of this nation.’

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Edward shares his thoughts

American History X star Tatiana Maslany said, "Without census counts, you can imagine, perhaps, a family of five girls and some of those girls are enslaved. Born into slavery." He continued emotionally, "You just want to die reading 'slave aged eight.' The show is said to air on Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST on PBS' Finding Your Roots, which examines the ancestry of both Julia Roberts and Edward. Lupita Nyong'o, Issa Rae, Jordan Peele, and Glenn Close have been guests on the series since its premiere in 2012. Among other stars appearing on the show in the upcoming season are Claire Danes and Sofia Vergara's husband, Joe Manganiello.

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