Watch Tamera Mowry-Housley Get Emotional While Learning She Comes from a Bloodline of Slaves

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via Ancestry/Finding Your Roots

When actress and TV personality Tamera Mowry-Housley decided to find out more about her family history on an episode of Finding Your Roots, she had no idea the results that surfaced would leave her in tears.

Mowry-Housley admits that she knew little of her past beyond the fact that her mother is from the Bahamas and her father is of European descent. Before she learned about her ancestry, the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., explained to her that after the taping, she would finally “see what you are.”

It was later revealed that the mother of two comes from a bloodline of slaves. One of her ancestors was a woman born in 1825 named Margaret Rolle who was an enslaved field laborer in a country “driven by slavery,” the show said.

Mowry-Housley then became emotional after learning that her ancestor had been listed as a slave at the age of nine.

“You want to protect them, you want them to keep that innocence. But for Margaret, that did not exist,” she said to Gates speaking of her two children.

She then learns that Rolle was set free from slavery at the age of 13 shortly after the British empire abolished slavery.

“Wow,” she sighed.

“What do you think Margaret would’ve made of you?” Gates asked her.

Tears then begin to form in the 44-year-old’s eyes.

“She’d be proud,” she responds.

“Oh, no question, she would be proud,” Gates said.

“But you just feel [sad that] she had to go through that as a child, I wonder what she went through to escape her current situation. Then, to finally be free – [I wonder] what that felt like, that first breath.”

The Sister, Sister star also finds that several members in her ancestry were owned by a British baron named John Rolle. In 1830, they were part of a large group of slaves on his estate who participated in what was called Pompey’s Revolt.

While they didn’t gain freedom, their fight against injustice provided “inspiration and hope for generations,” Gates said.

“That’s beautiful,” Mowry-Housley responded.

After Gates asks her whether learning this newfound knowledge changes how she views herself, the actress responds “you know when you always say, ‘I got it from my mama?’ Well, I definitely see that line of strength picking up and carrying on. That’s what I get out of all of this.”

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