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One way to fully understand the effect that slavery and its legacy has had, and continues to have, is to look at how it began--similar to when a person trying to understand their ancestry must go back and trace the roots of where their family began. 1619 - Twenty Africans will attempt to do both, tracing the beginning of slavery in America and having a discussion about tracing our ancestry, in the context of author Stephen Hanks' DNA test results. Hanks started out tracing two family names--and ended up examining the lineages of four genetic DNA cousins related to him. What he discovered would completely shake his whole understanding about how slavery in America was created, ultimately taking the author on a journey leading him to the events that started in the year 1619 on the shores of Virginia. Today's DNA testing is revealing that Americans have far more in common with each other than they ever could have imagined.