DNA provides clues to family's African heritage

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With a flick of the wrist, James Johnson uses an elongated cotton swab along the inside of his 102-year old mother's cheek.

He's taken the first step in his search for answers to an existential question that plagues a majority of black Americans: Where did my ancestors come from?

For the Johnsons -- cousins of the Rand family, who are featured in "CNN Presents: Black in America" -- the answer arrives in the form of a certificate from African Ancestry Inc., a Maryland-based company that specializes in ancestral DNA testing for black Americans.

For this story, producers for the groundbreaking CNN documentary series facilitated the DNA sampling of matriarch Mineola Johnson to find out more about the Rand family's African roots.

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