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October 4, 2015
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Vanessa Williams Discovers Ancestors Who Broke Barriers (VIDEO)

by Aimee Deeken, posted Feb 7th 2011 7:30AM
Vanessa Williams on 'Who Do You Think You Are'On 'Who Do You Think You Are?' (Fri., 8PM ET on NBC), archivists hunted through 19th century documents to reveal inspiring truths about Vanessa Williams' ancestry. One great-grandfather was never enslaved and volunteered in the 26th Colored Infantry during the Civil War.

Her great-great grandfather was one of the first African American representatives in the Tennessee state legislature. Reading from a tribute found in the Tennessee State Library and Archives, Williams said, "'He has bequeathed them a legacy more precious than gold, more imperishable than monumental brass -- a spotless name.' He sounds a lot like my dad," the actress said, tearing up. "It just makes me so proud of the men that I am descended from and the family that I come from."

Watch the full episode here:

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