Fight Club star Edward Norton has admitted he felt ‘uncomfortable’ after discovering his ancestors were once slave owners and said he ‘wanted to die’ after finding out
By Scarlett O’Toole
After learning the “uncomfortable” fact that his ancestors owned a slave family that included five young girls, Edward Norton admitted he “wanted to die.”
The actor, who most recently appeared in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, said it’s critical to acknowledge the past because to do otherwise would be to pass judgment on this nation’s history.
During a guest appearance on the most recent episode of the PBS program Finding Your Roots, Edward also learned that he is a direct descendant of Pocahontas.
The 53-year-old was shown a picture of a 55-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman, and five girls, ages 4, 6, 8, 9, and 10, during the program.
Edward was informed that the family was owned as slaves by the host Henry Louis Gates Jr., who enquired, “What’s it like to see that?”
“The short answer is, these things are uncomfortable, and you should be uncomfortable with them. Everybody should be uncomfortable with it,” Edward replied.
He added: “It’s not a judgement on your and your own life but it’s a judgement on the history of this country.
“It needs to be acknowledged first and foremost, and then it needs to be contended with.”
The Hollywood star tried to ‘personalise things’ and suggested the slaves could have been a husband and wife with their children.
Henry said: “Born into slavery and in slavery in perpetuity.”
“Again, when you read ‘slave aged eight,’ you just want to die,” Edward replied.
Edward was also shocked to discover that his 12th great-grandmother was Pocahontas and that he was linked to the Jamestown colonial settlement.
Edward was a descendant of Pocahontas through her marriage to tobacco planter, John Rolfe, which took place in 1614.
The Fight Club star said: “It makes you realize what a small piece of the human story you are.”
According to reports, Norton is a descendant of the wealthy Rouse family.
His grandfather is thought to be James Rouse who was a businessman and a real estate mogul who redesigned American cities in a way that is still recognisable today.
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