More U.S. blacks seek African roots

Feb. 18, 2009 at 12:50 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- More blacks in the United States are looking for their African roots, with the interest in DNA testing fueling a push for dual citizenship.

Anthony Archer, who teaches political science at California State Dominguez Hills, told The Los Angeles Times he is seeking citizenship in Cameroon since he discovered his genetic roots are there.

"African Americans are the richest Africans in the world," Archer said. "Africa can tap into us for our resources, and we can tap into them for our identities. "

Isaiah Washington, the actor best known for his years on "Grey's Anatomy," now holds dual citizenship in Sierra Leone. He has set up a foundation to help the country and been inducted as a village chieftain.

"If we can take our intellects and resources, and reverse the brain drain and help rebuild these countries, we can define our legacies," he said.

The election of President Obama, whose own roots in Kenya are much more recent, is expected to accelerate the trend.

One tester, Bruce Jackson of the African-American DNA Roots Project at the University of Massachusetts, said he has a stopped taking new requests until he works through his backlog. Jackson, unlike most who offer DNA testing, believes the data base is not yet large enough to identify ancestral countries.

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