African Ancestry co-founder to help UAB students trace their DNA roots

This unique talk will cover the impact on the black community of DNA ancestry research, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and family tree exploration.

AncestoryJoomlaAfrican Ancestry co-founder Gina Paige will speak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Monday, Feb. 18.

This unique talk was organized especially for the black community and will cover the impact that DNA ancestry research, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and family tree exploration have on shaping the identities of UAB students. As a special part of the program, Paige will also feature a live reveal of one UAB student’s DNA results.

“Finding Your Wakanda: Family Trees, Tribes and Genetics” is presented by UAB’s Black Student Awareness Committee, the College of Arts and Sciences’ African American Studies, Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs, and African Ancestry Inc.

The lecture will be at 6 p.m. in the Hill Student Center Ballroom. It is free and open to the public.

“Black communities in particular have experienced historical barriers that limited our ability to trace our roots,” said Sharifa Wip, SMDP mentor programs coordinator. “Knowing your heritage and identifying with where you come from can have a transformative effect on a person’s life. We want to have a deeper conversation about the influence that history and DNA tracing have on molding how students view themselves.” 

Coordinators hope the experience will be interactive. Participants are encouraged to ask questions and share their testimonies throughout the presentation. 

According to information on, African Ancestry Inc. was founded in 2003 by Paige and Rick Kittles and serves as the world leader in tracing maternal and paternal lineages of African descent. The company has assisted more than 500,000 people in reconnecting with the roots of their family trees, and boasts the industry’s largest and most comprehensive database of more than 30,000 indigenous African samples. While many DNA tracing companies reveal only the continent of origin, African Ancestry has the only database that enables the tracing of the specific, present-day African country and ethnic groups of origin “with an unrivaled level of detail, accuracy and confidence.” African Ancestry is committed to providing a unique service to the black community by working to improve the cultural, emotional, physical, spiritual and economic well-being of people across the African Diaspora.

For more information and disability accommodations, call the Black Student Awareness Committee at 205-975-8673 or visit the SMDP office at HSC 311.