Star of Pose Billy Porter shed some tears during the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC. while uncovering a slew of family secrets. Ancestry Family Historian / Genealogist Nicka Sewell-Smith spoke with Porter about his great-grandfather, Thomas Henry Richardson, in the episode. My great-grandfather was reportedly shot in the back, Porter recounted (via Yahoo). “That was the extent of our chat.”
Sewell-Smith Gave Porter an Article from The Pittsburgh Courier,
which stated that Porter’s great-grandfather was killed by a police officer, and explained to Porter that white newspapers at the time presented stories “in a particular way” that were different from Black publications.
His great-grandfather had been shot in the breast, not the back, according to the account. One white police officer “with a reputation for shooting” killed Joseph Richardson cold-blooded, according to the investigation, according to a visibly distraught Porter.
Porter was shocked to find that a jury had found the cop not guilty of murder. ‘Injustice’ is the thing that enrages me the most,’ he exclaimed. This information, this tragedy, this living, and still being able to show up for our life is a mystery to me.” Violence against people of color is endemic in the United States, and this book helps explain why it was never discussed.
Viewers were moved by Porter’s anguish as they watched the episode, which highlighted the fact that injustices like this persist today. In another episode, Porter learned that his great, great, great-grandparents were among the 10% of Black Americans who were freed early in the country’s history.
The Tony winner added, “Now when someone asks me, ‘How do you have such strength?’ I can answer them with confidence.” It’s like, ‘How can you stand up to a world that dismisses you?’ I feel like I’m on both sides of this. When I was growing up, my family was always forging a way out of nothing. The reason I am who I am is because of where I came from.