Don Lemon traced his ethnic roots in an emotional segment of CNN series Roots in 2014. He traveled to his hometown, Baton Rouge, where he set on a journey with his mother, Katherine Clark, to find about their ancestors. They learned about his grandparents, Harry Rivault and Catherine Jackson, an interracial couple who worked in Cinclare Plantation in Louisiana.
For further discovery, Lemon acquired a DNA test and found that his origins were from Europe, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Congo. It was revealed that Lemon’s family had lived and labored in Baton Rouge since before the Civil War. His ancestral line dates back to when Louisiana first became part of America. As he dug further into his family history, Lemon and his mother burst into tears as the situation got very emotional.
At the end of the episode, Lemon called himself blessed to be not just alive but also to have a good life. He said, “Who do I think I am? I know that I’m a survivor and I came from a group of people who were survivors. Why wouldn’t I wanna do the best that I could to honor those people?”