This 4th of July in the United States, watch Ancestry.com’s new ad for the Declaration of Independence and read this article by Emily Gaudette about Ancestry and independence’s complicated complications:
“Though it’s admittedly moving to watch a diverse group of people describe being united under one national banner — one is reminded of the latest music video from the Hamilton Mixtape in which immigrants to the United States rap about building the country thanklessly — the ad’s emotional effect is dampened a bit by the fact that it’s, well, an advertisement for a paid service. Of course, that paid service does connect people of all ethnicities to their lineage, which, regardless of outcome, can be an emotional and personally cathartic process.
“Even putting aside that skepticism, its central message is still steeped in a lot of complication. It’s impossible to watch the ad and completely forget that American history has been systematically cruel to people of color. On the other hand, members of what’s now called the Jefferson-Hemings lineage (or just the Hemings lineage) have met up in assumedly complex reunions….”
(H/T: Tera Hunter on Twitter)