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Janet Mock Discovers Heartbreaking History of Her Last Name in Finding Your Roots

Janet Mock Discovers Heartbreaking History of Her Last Name in 'Finding Your Roots'

Janet Mock Discovers Heartbreaking History of Her Last Name in 'Finding Your Roots'

"I chose my first name, I chose Janet."

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On an upcoming episode of PBS's Finding Your Roots, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. sits down with writer and transgender rights advocate Janet Mock and unearths the history of her last name.

In his research of her ancestral heritage, Gates finds the registry of a 14-year-old slave who he believes is Mock's great great great great grandfather, documented by a slave owner named William T. Mock. Her grandfather was a piece of property with no name, along with five other boys. 

"It's interesting to see where Mock came from," says Janet. "We know that it goes back to a white man named William."

"What's it like to see this?" asks Gates, Jr.

"It's a reconciliation for me personally," explains Mock. "I chose my first name, I chose Janet. And to see that then my great great great great grandfather chose Mock. He could've changed it to something else if he wanted to but he chose that name. For me, there is reconciliation between those parts of myself: the identity that is mine and the identity that is my family's."

Watch the clip below & catch Finding Your Roots tonight on PBS:

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Taylor Henderson

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one! 

Taylor Henderson is a PRIDE.com contributor. This proud Texas Bama studied Media Production/Studies and Sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, where he developed his passions for pop culture, writing, and videography. He's absolutely obsessed with Beyoncé, mangoes, and cheesy YA novels that allow him to vicariously experience the teen years he spent in the closet. He's also writing one!