By Gerrad Hall
May 18, 2018 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Laverne Cox still gets goose bumps talking about the family discoveries she made during her journey on Who Do You Think You Are?, TLC’s ancestry docuseries.

“Finding out my family history was about having a better understanding of how I came to be who I am,” the Orange is the New Black star explains to EW. Tracing her mother’s family roots, Cox follows a path of public records to pre-emancipation days and a three-times great-grandfather whose life took a drastic turn following the end of slavery.

As seen in the series’ two-hour, 10th season premiere (which kicks off an hour earlier with Jon Cryer), Cox learned both good news and bad: While her ancestors were socially progressive and pushed for basic humans rights like voting, they also suffered violence at the hands of their own. “A lot of it was also about trying to understand the trauma that has been passed down in our family, the trauma that is linked to Jim Crow, that is linked to slavery, that has been passed down in my family history that informs who I am today,” Cox reveals. Those particular details didn’t make it into the final episode, but the information left her feeling “emboldened” and “empowered.”

Watch the clip above for more on Cox’s journey, including when she learns the physical worth that was put on her family members, and tune in to Who Do You Think You Are? at 9 and 10 p.m. ET Monday on TLC.

Who Do You Think You Are?

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  • TV Show
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  • In Season

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