CNN

October 14th, 2014

Anderson Cooper Traces His Family’s Roots through the Deep South

As part of the CNN special ROOTS: OUR JOURNEYS HOME, Anderson Cooper on last night’s AC360 took viewers to trace his family tree in Mississippi, Louisiana and New York.

Many people know Anderson Cooper as having come from one of America’s most famous families – the Vanderbilt’s.  But growing up, Anderson was always drawn to the southern roots of his father, Wyatt Cooper.  For the special, he travels south and discovers surprising ties between his dad’s poor farming family and the rich Vanderbilt’s that existed before his parents ever met.

Among the treasures that Anderson finds is audio of his father discussing his hopes and dreams for his sons. This is the first time Anderson has heard his father’s voice since he was 10 years old.

“The thing about the past is, one can’t help what zip code one was born in, what country or family you’re descended from. All you can do is learn the lessons of those who came before you: their stories, their mistakes and their successes,” Anderson reflects. “You can’t choose what family you’re born into. All you can really do is choose how you want to live your own life.”

ROOTS: OUR JOURNEYS HOME kicked-off on October 12th with Anthony Bourdain and will continue to air across the network throughout the week, culminating in a two-hour special on Monday, October 20th at 9 pm ET. The stories of 13 CNN anchors and hosts will be told in all. For more information, visit: cnn.com/roots

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