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LeVar Burton Reacts To Discovery That His Ancestor Was A Confederate Soldier

via ABC
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Actor LeVar Burton discovered during an episode of “Finding Your Roots” that one of his ancestors was a white Confederate soldier.

The revelation came as a surprise to Burton, who had limited knowledge of his family history due to being estranged from his father and his mother not being forthcoming about their background.

The show’s team used genealogy and DNA experts to uncover this information.

Burton learned that his great-grandmother was not related to the man listed as her father, but instead, her biological father was a white farmer named James Henry Dixon.

The unexpected discovery left Burton feeling surprised and seeking a sense of wholeness through understanding his family’s past.

“You grow up with just blanks, right? No information, no clue and no real way to overcome that blind spot,” Burton said. “This information is stuff that we need in order to feel whole.”

“Are you kidding me? Oh my God, oh my God. I did not see this coming,” Burton said of the news.

“I often wonder about white men of the period and how they justify to themselves their relations with black women, especially those in an unbalanced power dynamic. There has to be a powerful disconnect created emotionally and mentally,” Burton said.

“The two major commercial DNA tests almost never have tested an African American who was 100% sub-Saharan African,” Burton was informed. “We all have white ancestors.”

“There’s some conflict roiling inside of me right now,” Burton admitted.

“But oddly enough, I feel a pathway opening up. …Knowing what I know about the history of this nation, I’ve wanted, especially in this current time frame, I believe that as Americans we need to have this conversation about who we are and how we got here.”

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