Former Cowboys running back and 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Emmitt Smith will be featured on tonight's episode of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are?, a series based on the BBC hit, which chronicles the geneaological roots of chosen celebrities.
In previews, Smith is shown discovering roots in rural Alabama, and tracing his family tree back to a slave girl named simply 'Mariah' in Mecklenburg, Co., Va. In further research of Mariah's life, Smith consults a Mecklenburg Co. book of deeds. The edition number of the book, fittingly enough, is 22.
"I've been wearing jersey number 22 since college," Smith said. "Maybe it is my destiny, and I've always believed I was a child of destiny, but, whew, this is … it's making me a little bit nervous."
Smith is visibly shaken as he contemplates the hardships of those generations before him, who lived through slavery. This is particularly evident when he discovers a deed--in deed book 22--passing ownership of an 11-year-old Mariah from a father to his son. "I have a 13-year-old daughter right now, and I have a 10-year-old daughter right now," Smith said. "I couldn't imagine them being passed down through slavery that way."
Who Do You Think You Are? airs tonight on NBC, at 7 PM, local time.