Why is Eva Longoria Parker proud of Henry Louis Gates?

Actress Eva Longoria Parker had nothing but praise for the work Henry Louis Gates Jr. has done in tracing the ancestry of African-Americans.

Now the Harvard professor who has been in recent headlines is going to include Latinos and other ethnic groups in a new PBS series called Faces of America, Longoria said during the National Council of La Raza conference in Chicago this past week.

Dr. Gates traced the family roots of Longoria and she spoke about their first conversation at the conference.

"I think you are a fascinating person and I want to tell a Latino story of where your ancestors came from," Longoria said Gates told her.

This past week Longoria got her results from DNA testing and research. It turns out
the Longoria family landed in North America in 1603 "which was 20 years before the Mayflower," Longoria said.

"I was blown away and Dr. Gates said I have to tell you of all the people I have traced you are one of the most American people I've ever found. Your family was here before Pilgrims," said Longoria who is Mexican-American and traces her roots all the way back to Asturias, Spain.

Her family has lived in Texas for 12 generations under the flags of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy and the United States.

"(Gates) said your family lived under five flags without ever moving a foot," Longoria said. "And you're still on the same land."

"He asked me 'Do you feel like your Latino story or your Latin roots was portrayed in the history that you learned growing up?' "

Longoria explained that it was the first she had learned of it.

"It's so important to you know where you come from to know where you are going," she said.

Longoria didn't comment on Gates run-in with Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley.

But she underscored the importance this great scholar has played in telling the African-American history with his PBS series and soon he will tell the history of Latinos and other ethnic groups.

"I'm really proud of Dr. Gates for recognizing that the Latino story is missing from history," Longoria said.

She told the crowd, "I was honored to be a part of it."

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  • Professor Gates sent a bouquet of tulips to the woman who made the 911 call which resulted in his arrest. He's a mensch.

    http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/07/gates_sends_flo.html

    Sitting down and having a beer with the officer who unlawfully arrested you only goes to show how much more gracious Professor Gates is than he was portrayed in the weeks leading up to "The Beer Summit."

    Sometimes we learn from the long view of history, under five flags. Sometimes we learn from the short view of history, over beers.

    Either way, Professor Gates has shown America why he teaches at the nations most prestigious school, Harvard.

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