When Maya Rudolph appeared on PBS‘ genealogy show Finding Your Roots, she wanted to establish an identity.
But the Saturday Night Live veteran found out so much more after discovering her slave ancestors’ history in Tuesday’s episode.
The 43-year-old, who is the daughter of late soul singer Minnie Riperton and music composer Richard Rudolph, admitted to host Henry Louis Gates Jr. she grew up “feeling a little orphaned by the idea of my heritage.”
But that all changed when the actress was presented with an 1860 Kentucky document that detailed the 32 slaves owned by John Warren Grigsby.
Rudolph made the shocking discovery when she saw her maternal ancestor listed only by his gender and age: five years old.
After the realization, she broke down at the thought of her own daughter Lucille Anderson — who turned six in November — having to suffer the same fate as her ancestor.
Check out the emotional clip (below) and watch the episode to see the journeys of Rudolph, Shonda Rhimes, and Keenan Ivory Wayans on Tuesday at 8 p.m. EST on PBS!
[Image via PBS.]