Janet Mock was a guest on the latest episode of PBS’ ancestry show Finding Your Roots and discovered some interesting facts about the history of her family.
Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presented the trans icon with a document from an 1860 slave census that found her third great-grandfather had been owned by a man named William Mock from Louisiana.
The 34-year-old was interested to learn that her last name actually came from a white man who enslaved her relative.
“There’s a reconciliation for me, personally,” she said after learning the information. “I chose my first name, I chose Janet. And to see that then my great-great-great-grandfather chose Mock. He could have changed it to something else if he wanted to, but he chose that name.”
“So, for me, there’s a reconciliation between those parts of myself,” she added. “The identity that is mine and the identity that is my family’s. There’s a peace there that comes from that.”