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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Texas Nurse Battling Ebola Identified; Kansas Hospital Isolates Patient Runs Ebola Tests; Nurse Gets Blood Transfusion From Ebola Survivor; Anderson Traces His Family's Roots; Report: N. Korean Leader Appears In Public; ISIS On Baghdad's Doorsteps; Oscar Pistorius Awaits Sentencing; Smoke Bomb Tossed At Diners
Aired October 13, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight there is breaking news about the nurse who's been diagnosed with Ebola. New information tonight, her name is Nina Pham. She's 26 years old. And she contracted Ebola after treating Thomas Duncan who died in the hospital last week.
Now tonight, we learned that she has already received a blood transfusion from an Ebola survivor. That survivor is Doctor Kent Brantly. He as you know, contracted the disease in West Africa, recovered after coming back to the United States for treatment in Atlanta.
Also tonight, there is another possible and I say possible case here in United States, this one in Kansas. The patient is a man who just returned to the United States five days ago after working as a medic on a ship of the West coast of Africa which is, you know, as the hot zone for this Ebola outbreak.
Now, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here with me with the latest. What do we know about this patient?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I just got up on the phone with spokesman from the hospital and she said that this man had vomiting or has vomiting, diarrhea, a fever and just feels really awful and really...
COOPER: Which are obviously all the keys signs?
COHEN: They are. There also the key signs for other illnesses.
COHEN: And so while he was on the ship he knows that he treated people with typhoid fever with other diseases and I asked him, "Did you take care of anyone who had Ebola?" And he said, "Look, we can't touch for Ebola on a ship." "We don't know what they had." So there are lots of reasons to think that it might not be Ebola because he was treating people with a variety of diseases but of course, it could be Ebola.
So they've taken his blood and it is right now in process of getting to the CDC... COOPER: And he's been in the United State for five days. Has he been sick all that time?
COHEN: It's not entirely clear how long how long he's been sick but he certainly felt sick for, you know, for a while and this is not sudden.
COOPER: And is it just today that he's going to the hospital, do we know?
COHEN: Yeah. That's our understanding, is that he just got to the hospital.
COOPER: OK. And it's fascinating to know that -- do we know when we'll get test results?
COHEN: You know the test can be done in about four to six hours. I'm told that it's in process of being sent to Atlanta. They're also sending specimen to another lab that's closer to Kansas. So I mean, by tomorrow, they should know.
COOPER: All right. And again, fascinating news night that nurse here has received a blood transfusion from Doctor Kent Brantly. That's also our breaking news. And Elizabeth thanks so much.
President Obama met with senior administration officials of the White House this afternoon to talk about the response to the new Dallas case and about how the country as a whole is prepared to deal with an outbreak. Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta joins me now live.
So Jim, the White House said 10 days ago that the U.S. Health Care System knew how to handle this and yet here we are. Does it seem like the administration has been cough of guard here?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ORRESPONDENT: I think somewhat Anderson. You know, 10 days ago, Liza Monaco who was kind of terrorism advisor for the President who's really the Obama -- unnamed Obama czar at this point. She's leading the efforts to deal with Ebola and she said that the U.S. health care system is unmatched when it comes to dealing with Ebola and preventing an outbreak from happening here in the U.S.
And now, you're hearing Doctor Thomas Frieden from the CDC saying earlier today that he would not be surprise of additional health care workers who came in and contact with this Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan, whether they maybe infected. That is why officials in the CDC, officials in the Obama administration are now taking another look at these procedures for dealing with Ebola patients.
The possibility has come up that they may start transporting these patients to these biocontainment centers like the one they have in Nebraska, right now where an American journalist is being treated. That's being reviewed.
COOPER: And Jim, as you know, members of Congress has been calling for the president take stronger action, some -- Senator McCain say, he should appoint on Ebola czar, others want to see a travel ban put into place. Is the administration considering -- I mean, really any of those possibilities?
ACOSTA: At this point, they're saying no. No Ebola czar. Liza Monaco was in charge of the effort for the administration. And they say, you know, to that idea of an Ebola czar that that would just add another layer of bureaucracy and they point out by the way Anderson that John McCain back in 2009 criticized the President for having too many czars.
Now, when it comes to this travel ban idea that came up once again today of the CDC, Doctor Frieden said no, they're not considering a travel ban and they actually believe that would be counter productive because it could prevent U.S. health care workers from getting into Africa to help lead the effort to try to prevent an outbreak from coming over to the United States and then it could actually cause a panic over there.
But they're getting nervous over here at the White House Anderson. The President said in that meeting with this national security advisors and people who are leading up this effort like Thomas Frieden that he wants an expeditious conclusion of this investigation in Dallas in terms of how that nurse in Dallas contracted Ebola. They want an answer to that question over here at the White House. Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, certainly a lot of people want an answer to that here in Dallas as well Jim Acosta, thank you.
Joining me now, here is man who's been working really around the clock the last couple of days on this, Dallas Mayor, Mike Rawlings. I appreciate you being with us.
MAYOR MIKE RAWLINGS, DALLAS: All right. Good to be here.
COOPER: When you first got the word now that this nurse here in respond (ph) had tested positive, what happened? I mean, what goes through your mind, it's the worst case scenario obviously?
RAWLINGS: Well, I'm kind of a half empty glass, half empty guy. So I was kind of expecting the other shoe to drop but it was a great disappointment. It was a shot in the gut. We pulled our staff together. We pulled the county together. We came up here.
COOPER: Yeah. I understand you spend basically the night at the hospital.
RAWLINGS: We spent the whole night up here trying to be ready by 7:30. So when the citizens woke up, they knew as much as they could and that we had done what was appropriate at the apartment with the car, doing all the things that we could do overnight but it's a disappointment.
COOPER: I understand yourself about 20 minutes didn't even sleep or lay down. RAWLINGS: Yeah. Lay down.
COOPER: And then not only from the hospitals but you also then went to the neighborhood of the nurse just to talk to people and it's going to be a delicate balance, on one hand you don't want to -- I mean, you want to give out accurate information. You want to make people doubt what you're saying. You don't want to make people nervous but you want to be honest with people.
RAWLINGS: You got to be transparent. You've got to tell people real information, real time but you also have to take care of privacy issues. I mean, you know, we've got a hero up here laying up here and these parents are loving people and they want this to be a private matter but it's a public matter.
So how do you do this? So we tell as much information we can as quickly as we can. I think we learned a lot from two weeks ago on how to do that. So, we're learning organization (ph) and make that happen.
COOPER: You and I poke I guess...
COOPER: ... I don't know, a week ago, 10 days ago, it all sort of blends together but you were talking about kind of all the different agencies involved and it's, you know, it's a learning process certainly to say the least, who's in charge now? I mean how does it actually work?
RAWLINGS: Well, first of all, I think everybody's done a great job from a communication standpoint. The county is in charge of the health of the Dallas County. So, Clay Jenkins is taking point but he's really listen to the state because the state has got jurisdiction overall when they want it.
But I think, the state is differing to a lot of issues. I'm in charge of public safety. So Judge Jenkins and I are working towards that.
COOPER: And then -- the CDC, are they more sort of just kind of advice?
RAWLINGS: Well, first of all, very good advice because we go to old medical issues on that. We've -- they've brought in some more people to be on the ground. But they're focused on this hospital. They're focus on the health care workers. They're focused on the disease and...
COOPER: And the protocols and the disease itself.
RAWLINGS: And the protocol on the disease is on that which I don't know anything about. What we've got to do is make sure the citizens are safe as we can. We take their guides, their instruction and we implement it. Like, what do you do with his spat? You know, we had to do a lot of work with the CDC but ultimately the city kind of took charge of that. COOPER: It does seem to me that -- I mean just in talking to people on the plane flying in here today and just folks -- and about, people are very aware of it. They're obviously concerned but people also got this in perspective. I mean, the life in Dallas continues on, restaurants are open. I'm going out to eat later tonight. I mean, everyone is -- life continues, life is safe there.
RAWLINGS: Thousands of people at the O.U.-Texas game...
RAWLINGS: ... you know, were doing that. But I think people are anxious, but I think appropriately so. I'm anxious, you know, but not fearful, not panic, not all these words that have been use. And I think people are asking the right questions about their schools, about their -- and, you know, we're trying to get back to (inaudible) as quickly as we can.
COOPER: Mayor Rawlings, I appreciate all that you're doing.
RAWLINGS: Thank you so much.
COOPER: Thank you very much. I appreciate it.
RAWLINGS: I appreciate it.
COOPER: Mayor Mike Rawlings, a quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch the program whenever you like. We are on although this hour.
Just ahead, are the screening measures at air force in West African now, we're talking about, are they strong enough to contain the Ebola epidemic, we're going to hear from the CNN reporter who has just left Liberia. She's going to explain the process that she and her crew actually just went throughout the airport. We'll talk to them, next.
COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We're live in Dallas.
CNN International Correspondent Nima Elbagir has been doing really extraordinary reporting from on the ground in West Africa, the epicenter of the Ebola crisis.
Now she is leaving Liberia which is an opportunity for us to learn more about the exact screening process at the airports that are in the hot zone.
I spoke with her on the phone a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Nima, you just went through airport security. What was the screening process there like?
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it is definitely more stringent than the last time we came through this about a month ago. There are now three separate temperature check.
So there's one -- initially as you come even in to a gate at the airport. There's a second if you enter the departure terminal. And then third once you've checked in and you're going through the departure lines. So that -- it's definitely stepped up a knot then. So also just, the questionnaire that patients -- that travelers have to answer. That's also changed.
So I remember last time when we went through, the questions were very much, "Have you been in contact with an Ebola patient, have you attended an Ebola patient, and (inaudible) Ebola patients.
This time they broaden out to, have you been (inaudible) of someone who died in an Ebola area which seems to be it affirms directly to the case of Thomas Eric Duncan.
SCHULTZ: But it's still really relies on a person self-reporting, on a person being honest about what kind of contact they have or have had other than the taking of the temperature, correct?
ELBAGIR: Yes, very much. I mean, the taking of the temperature is pretty stringent. So, without that final temperature check written on your fourth exam you're not allowed to board the plane.
COOPER: So, if somebody wanted to game the system, as long as they didn't have a fever, they could just lie on the forms that they have to fill out, correct?
ELBAGIR: Yes. So, it does say in pretty bold, you answer at the bottom of the form that you will liable to prosecution of criminal action if you do lie. But once you've left the country, how easy is that going to be to prosecute but -- yeah, it is -- the system is very much built on the foundation of trust that the individual will self- declare, but (inaudible) doesn't self declare then there very little recourse to stop someone who had knowingly or even unknowingly leaving the country.
Come into contact with an Ebola patient and leaving the country.
COOPER: Does it seem like the airport itself is well staffed enough to actually screen passengers, you know, in a reasonable amount of time?
ELBAGIR: They seems they have been (inaudible) so if they -- they have (inaudible) in terms of medical health professionals taking temperatures. The numbers of those have definitely gone up since the last time we went here.
There's also seems to be real concern (inaudible) control the flow of people in and out of the airport. So, this is, you know, people waiting people are -- they're now allowed -- it's very much limited to travel as themselves and those working. And even the walkers, the people carrying the baggage for us, they have a temperature checked come in and out instantly.
So, we do feel like they're trying to -- within the limit of what is possible but the reality is, what is possible is still not enough to guarantee that someone cause (inaudible).
COOPER: Well, Nima Elbagir, you've done amazing reporting from Liberia. Thanks for joining us again tonight in your way out.
ELBAGIR: Thanks Anderson. Bye.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well back in the United States, an update now on the Ebola patient being treated in Nebraska. Doctors say Ashoka Mukpo, an NBC cameraman is making progress and it's getting the experimental drug.
As you know he contract to Ebola while working as a cameraman in Liberia. Mukpo himself tweeted today, he's back on Twitter saying, "Back on twitter, feeling like I'm on the road to good health. Will be posting some thoughts this week. Endless gratitude for the good vibes. Now that I've had first hand experience with this scourge of a disease"--he went on to say, "I'm even more pained at how little care sick West Africans are receiving."
Mukpo is being treated at the Nebraska Medical Center which has an isolation unit, the type of facility that's prepared to deal with an Ebola case. There has been some talk about Ebola patients only being sent to those types of hospitals.
Doctor Phil Smith is the medical director of the Biocontainment Unit at The Nebraska Medical Center where the NBC cameraman is being treated. I spoke with him a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Smith, how is the training that people in your facility get the rehearsals -- I mean, how is it different than what other hospitals would have in a routine containment facility?
DR. PHILIP SMITH, THE NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: Well, we have a number of mechanical things that have been putting in PPE and special airflow and everything but I think the key in terms of our training is that we -- number one, we've been doing it for years. We've been practicing quarterly for quiet a few years.
And secondly, nobody puts on their apparel (ph) or takes off their apparel by themselves. No matter how experienced they are, people are prone to making mistakes. And we know that from experience with infection control in ordinary hospitals.
So, if I am putting on my gears someone stand in front of me and has a checklist on the wall and goes down one, two, three, four, which gloves put on and which order and how to put the tape on and then they check you out say, "You're OK to go."
And even more important is I think (ph), when you come out of the room, you have potential contamination on your uniform, you're hot and tired and distracted and so -- there again, someone meets you and says you're not going anywhere until go through our checklist and they would say, "Take off your right gloves, take out your left glove and in between your wash" and so forth.
COOPER: How easy is it for an individual doing it by themselves to make a mistake, to expose themselves while taking off their gloves or once their gloves are off and they're taking off other parts of the outfit.
SMITH: Well, we don't know and (inaudible) know that very small numbers of Ebola can cause infections. So that's -- in the other hand you have situations where someone with Ebola, they should be contagious. It lives in apartment or a room in the U.S. or in Africa with other people who don't get it, so that makes you think as not as contagious as we think.
But overall I think we have a lot to learn about the epidemiology and spread of this organism. But certainly there are instances of it spreading with perhaps through the environment getting on your gown, getting on your hand from touching the environment that make us cautious.
COOPER: And what seems is -- your facility was build in the wake of 9/11, was built really in the wake of that as part of the push for preparedness and the event of the bioterrorist attack. And then essentially from my understanding it sat empty for years.
There were times you actually had to fight to justify its existence. I just wondering after setting ready for so long, what were those first moments like when you realized you would actually be receiving an Ebola patient?
SMITH: Well, it was very gratifying that something we've work for, the unit had people and that sometimes when regular hospital overflow of patients but -- and it was used extensively for regional training program in high isolation. But it's one thing to train and then we had a couple of near misses, people we thought might have viral hemorrhagic fever as it turn that have a non-contagious disease like Malaria.
But when you've first gets that phone call and it says, you're getting an Ebola patient it's pretty amazing. And one has a whole variety of emotions that goes through your head at that time everything from excitement, apprehension, intellectual challenge to certain amount of fear.
COOPER: Well, Dr. Smith I appreciate you give your time to talk to us. Thank you.
SMITH: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As always you can find out more in the story and others at cnn.com.
Just ahead in this hour breaking news, an Ebola survivor has provided blood for a transfusion for Nina Pham, the nurse who's now battling Ebola here in Dallas. The question is how big a difference, might that make in her fight. Our medical panel joins me ahead.
Also, tonight my journey into my past where I found -- well, it might just surprise you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
Deep to the world, we found an old overgrown cemetery from another branch of my family. So this is the Bull cemetery. Wow. This is incredible.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been in here in a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight's breaking news the Kansas Hospital is testing a patient for Ebola tonight. The person has been placed in isolation. And here in Dallas, Nina Pham, the nurse who contracted Ebola while treating Thomas Duncan has received a blood transfusion from Ebola survivor Doctor Kent Brantly.
Now, you'll recall Doctor Brantly was treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after being airlifted from Liberia. He was the first patient American airlifted here in United States. He received that experimental treatment ZMapp. Nina Pham's infection has raised a lot of concern because there still no answer to exactly how she was expose while wearing protective gear.
Last hour, Doctor Sanjay Gupta showed us the process of removing that kind of protective gear and how easily fluid can be transferred to the skin if it's on the gallon (ph) for instance. It's a fascinating look. I want to replay just part of it for you, just to show you how difficult it is taking that gear off safely.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Most likely contaminated area would be gloves and maybe the front of my gown, a bit like this. OK, now, I got to treat this as I am potentially contaminated. I come out. What I'm going to with this particular gown I'm going to rip it all of together and everything is going come off simultaneously. But a part of the part of the gloves sort of brush into against my hand, my arm there, that could potentially be an exposure.
If the glove didn't come off properly, I would reach underneath here as best I could and get underneath there but perhaps I didn't do it exactly right, there could be another potential exposure there.
I'm reaching behind now as well as I can so let say the side of facial is contaminated and I touch here, that could potentially be an exposure. Same thing here at the face mask. Let's now take a look. Right there, we see all the chocolate sauce one possible exposure and over here in my neck, one possible exposure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And Sanjay joins me now along with Doctor Seema Yasmin, staff writer at the Dallas Morning News and a former Disease Detector for the CDC and Doctor Alexander Van Tulleken at Fordham University.
Sanjay, I'm just watching you take that off. It's just seems like it's so easy to make a mistake.
GUPTA: Yes, you know, it's interesting and then this is one of those things where people who are trained, you know, there's all these different sort of steps to try and prevent what I just showed you there, a potential exposure. What I'm sort of surprise Anderson and follow to the (inaudible), the CDC guideline. I literally was looking at their guidelines as we've shoot this thing.
When we were in West Africa, doctors (inaudible) working in much more remote conditions, OK? They don't have nearly the same sort of resources that they have in these American hospitals. They were able -- they've been taking care of patients for a long time. You know, I mean we've had Ebola outbreak in the world since 1976. Up until this year they've never had a case of a patient transmitting the virus to one of the healthcare workers.
So, they can do such a good job over there and involves -- I mean I remember I dumped my hands in bleach before I took my gloves off. I was sprayed down with a bleach-like solution before I started taking any of the other stuff up. There was buddy involved, who inspected in my set up, I inspected his set up as we're going in and again when we were coming out.
And you know, and I was covered from head to toe. So no skin showing, that was seem like a basic thing that made sense and I'm just surprised Anderson, the CDC guidelines here don't seemed to require that. I'm curious why that is and what it isn't more stringent.
COOPER: Doctor Yasmin, I mean the fact that this nurse now has received a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, explain how that works. Why it's so significant.
SEEMA YASMIN, STAFF WRITER AT THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: So idea here is that Dr. Kent Brantly survived Ebola that means in his blood he had the special proteins with antibodies. They attack the virus. They stick on to and then utilized it. With this nurse what's really good is that she did come to the hospital with -- very early on.
So she hadn't had the fever for long at all. That means that by giving her these antibodies, they're giving her these remade proteins that can latch unto the virus, help to kill and give her more of a fight a chance against the decease.
COOPER: Dr. Tulleken, I understand you said that United States has been a bit overconfident when it comes to Ebola and that the biggest problem is lack of training. Why do you think people weren't better prepared?
ALEXANDER VAN TULLEKEN, FORHAM UNIVERSITY: Well, it's hard to really know because this is the CDC's job and it's the job of the hospitals in the local public health authorities. And, what they should have been, we had many months to prepare to what was very likely to be a case with Ebola in the U.S.
And what they should have been with someone anticipating every single possibility and going through these drills and then making sure the people in hospitals were trained to implement. And what see from what Sanjay is just doing there, is how hard it is to do these drills and how hard it is to train up people now.
So, I guess the answer is no one ever got medal when there wasn't an Ebola academic. What you get is a medal for responding and so, it's much easier to gear up epidemic response -- concentrating once you have cases here.
COOPER: And in terms of that response you say it's more important to focus on the training of the health care workers than taking people's temperatures at the airport, in terms of result in protecting people that's more important.
TULLEKEN: It's really concerning. We have health care workers infected in America, because if healthcare workers lost confidence and feel they aren't protect or indeed aren't protected and both of those things would seem to be the case, then you see what we saw in Toronto during SARS which is people not turning up to work and reasonably so.
And at that point you have people with Ebola or people who feel they have Ebola not going to hospital care level refuse them (ph), and the risk of exposure is much, much higher.
Whereas at the airport, you screened everyone getting off the plane but unless they've got the fever right then, unless they developed symptoms right then it's going to be impossible to catch everyone. And this we know from other epidemics as well, so SARS and MERS again. Those -- the screening at the airports cost tens of millions of dollars and caught absolutely no cases whatsoever.
COOPER: Yes, I mean I was reading that today and Dr. Yasmin, I found that fascinating, and I remember all those mass screening for fevers in airport with SARS, not a single person was actually found to have SARS in all that screening.
YASMIN: That's right. Those airport screening had very little impact on the epidemic, had very little impact on how the disease spreads. This is the different disease that has a different mode of transmission. There all those key difference in here but I think a lot of airport screening is also to align (ph) public fears. It's to show a face, to show that we are -- so you want another public health interventions, so not just at the screening in (inaudible) of the country, but again on entry in the U.S.
COOPER: Yes. Doctor. Seema Yasmin, I appreciate that. Alexander Van Tulleken thank you so much and Sanjay Gupta as well.
Just ahead the life-changing journey, I took into my past where I found it -- well, I could have never predicted. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They move back after the war.
COOPER: I couldn't find anything that belonged to my dad. As I was leaving the school nurse came outside with the surprise for me.
Oh my god.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well tonight I want to invite you on a journey with me. It's a very personal journey that I undertook for CNN's week long series, Roots: Our Journeys Home. The series premiered last night with interfering Bourdain exploring his past, tonight it's my turn. It's pretty big shift what we usually do at CNN, our job after is to tell other people stories.
For the past year though I and several other CNN journalists have been digging deep into our own stories, tracing our roots. Our family trees reveal some remarkable secrets in connections with people, places, and moment and history. A lot of us never imagined. Here is my journey took me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
My dad Wyatt Cooper died when I was 10. When you're kid and you lose a parent, it's like the world as you know it comes to an end, clocks are reset. The calendar goes back to zero. After my dad died in 1978, it was just me, my mom and my brother Carter.
My mom and dad met at a dinner party in 1962. They couldn't have been from more different backgrounds. That's the thing that interest me the most about heritage, that the different branches my family three mapped out by ancestry.com started off so apart and have come together in me.
My mom is Gloria Vanderbilt. She was born into a family of great wealth but it was a different time when parents like hers had little to do with raising their kids. Her dad was Reginald Vanderbilt who died when she was an infant. Her mom Gloria Morgan was just 18 and had no idea how to raise a child.
When my mom was 10, her father's sister Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a sculpture who founded New York's Whitney Museum went to court to take custody of my mom away from my grandmother. At the time it was called the trial of the century, it was at the height of the depression and it made headlines around the world. It's hard to believe but the court decided my mom should be taken away from her own mother and raised by her Aunt Gertrude who she barely knew.
For my mom, that wound, that pain it's something that's never gone away. Whenever people ask me about my family history they're usually just referring to the Vanderbilt side of my family which is understandable I suppose. The first Vanderbilt came to America back in 1650. He's name was Jan Aertsen Vanderbilt. Varderbilt means from the Bilt which is a town in Holland. Jan Aertsen settled in New York Staten Island.
He was an indentured servant and within several generations the family's fortune took a dramatic turn.
In 1794, my great, great, great grandfather Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in Staten Island. At 16 he borrowed money and bought a small boat began ferrying cargo on the Hudson River. Cornelius Vanderbilt was a tough businessman to say the least. He undercut his competitors and built a fleet of steamships and eventually moving into railroads.
This is New York's Grand Center Terminal. It's an extraordinary structure. Back in 1869, Cornelius Vanderbilt bought 23 acres of land here in what's now Midtown Manhattan to build a depot for his New York Central Railroad. It was called Grand Central Terminal until 1913.
There's an imposing statue of him right outside the building. I remember seeing him when I was a little kid and for years I believe that all grandparents turn into statues when they died. Subsequent generations of Vanderbilt built huge mansions excess was what become known for.
There's some enormous houses in Port Road Island there are now museums open to the public. But many of the mansions they built in New York have been torn down. This was my great grandmother's house which once occupied an entire block in New York's Fifth Avenue. It's gone, and now the department store Bergdorf Goodman stands in the spot.
Growing up, I never really paid much attention to the history of the Vanderbilt. I mean I read about them in school books but they never seemed real to me. It was like reading about strangers. The truth is I was always glad not to have that Vanderbilt last name and all the baggage that came with it.
I was, wanted to make a name for myself.
The part of my mom's family they did interest music kid was her mother side. Her mom Gloria Morgan was incredibly beautiful and had an identical twin sister named Thelma. Their father was an American diplomat and their mother Laura Delphine Kilpatrick Morgan was half- Chilean.
Gloria Cleopatric Morgan's father had married a Chilean woman when he was the American Council General to Chile in 1865. His name was General Judson Kilpatrick. He's been an infamous cavalry officer fighting for the union in Civil War.
They called Kilpatrick, kill cavalry because he got so many of his own men killed. He is one of (inaudible) generals, graduate of West Point who was deeply opposed to slavery. He was also deeply political and apparently corrupt. In tracing the history of General Kilpatrick, I was stunned to learn that the two very different branches of my family nearly met.
It happened on the battle field on the Civil War. The battle of Resaca, my great grandfather General Kilpatrick was shot and wounded and had to leave the battlefield.
The very next day, Burrel Cooper, my great, great grandfather of my father side joined the battle. So if he wasn't fighting for the union. He was fighting for the Alabama infantry, fighting for the confederacy.
I find it amazing that these two branches, my family came so close together here on this field in Georgia. One oppose to the evils of slavery fighting for the union, the other for the confederacy, fighting to support slavery.
My dad was born here in Quitman, Mississippi in 1927. Though, growing up as a kid, I never felt all that connected to the Vanderbilt side of my family. I was always really interested on my dad's southern roots.
My dad and I look a lot a like. This was him as a kid. And this was me. My dad's dad, Emmett Cooper was a former. I like of this photo of him a lot, his heavy lidded eyes, the air of sadness about him. He married my grandmother Jenny Anderson when she was a teenager. My dad was born in this house at Quitman in 1927.
The house my dad was born in, it's long since been torn down. There's no sign of it anymore. The land is mostly forest, though it's still owned by Coopers.
My dad wrote a book few years before he died, called Families. It's a memoir about growing up in Mississippi and it's also celebration of the importance of family. I reread it every year and I think of it as a letter from my dad to me.
My dad's memoir is full of family stories. It tells that people whose names will never appear on history books or newspapers but who raised families, worked hard, and struggled to make a living of the land.
People like my great grandfather, William Preston Cooper, apparently he wasn't very religious and on his deathbed, they tried to baptize him. He refused, yelling that all they needed to do was to bring him a woman and he have no need of dying.
My second cousin Rizzy (ph) Harrison met me in Quitman and offered to take me to see the graves of some of these family legends.
RIZZY HARRISON, ANDERSON COOPER'S COUSIN: Yes that's it.
COOPER: Oh wow.
In the woods we found an old overgrown cemetery from another branch of my family.
So this is Bull cemetery. Wow. This is incredible.
HARRISON: We've been in here in the long time. COOPER: The Bulls married into the Cooper family back before the Civil War.
HARRISON: Now that's you're -- that's grandpa Burwell wife, the mother to William Preston Cooper.
COOPER: OK. So that's Burwell Cooper's wife.
HARRISON: Watch for snakes.
COOPER: I grew up reading stories about the Bulls in my dad's book. People like my ancestor Jimball (ph). My dad's dad said that he never got over the habit of killing people but then he never killed any (inaudible) deserve it.
HARRISON: I'm pretty sure that's it was.
COOPER: Right. And he would kill man for costing (inaudible) in front of women.
Rizzy also wanted to show me another cemetery. I've read about it in my dad's book but I never been there myself.
We're trying to find the old Cooper family cemetery. It's here along the Mississippi Alabama border. It's deep in the woods that it's hard to find. It's near a house where my great grandfather William Preston Cooper used to live.
We traveled along a dirt road for miles, of course of trees and canyons of (inaudible) before we finally find it.
Relatives of mine have been working to try to clear the undergrowth and cut down trees just try to clear the cemetery but one of kind of amazing things about is this cemetery is so old and a lot of the headstones have disappeared or been just worn away by the elements. You can't see any names of people anymore. It's even hard to tell what's a headstone.
Here, we find the grave of Burwell Cooper, my great, great grandfather.
The third states of America.
Who fought on the same battlefield during the Civil War as my other great, great grandfather Judson Kilpatrick. Burwell Cooper was shot in the right hand during the Civil War. He lost one of his fingers and he was partially paralyzed in his right arm. Records indicate that because of that paralysis he struggle the rest of his life to earn a living for his six kids. He died at the age of 54. His life was a far cry from Judson Kilpatrick's life who survived the war and went on to become U.S. Ambassador to Chile. There are a lot of people in my family fought for the confederacy nearly all will confer to actually own slaves except for one, Burwell Cooper's grandfather.
I recently discovered that one of my ancestors did in fact on slaves, my great, great grandfather Burwell Boykin. He owned 12 slaves. In fact, he was killed by one of those slaves in 1860, one year before the Civil War begun.
It's one thing to read about slavery in the history books, it's another to learn that a distant relative of mine took part of the evil.
HARRISON: Lovely. I'm so glad you came.
COOPER: Thank you.
My dad and his family left Quitman During World War II and move to New Orleans. His mother, my grandmother Jenny Anderson worked in the Higgins huge factory and making landing craft for the war. She also sold ladies hats at Maison Blanche department store.
Back in 2005 when I was in New Orleans, reporting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, completely by coincidence, I stumbled across my dad's old high school had flooded during the storm. This is the school now. Back then, it was called Francis T. Nicholls Public High School. Francis T. Nicholls was a confederate general, Governor of Louisiana.
One of the things I love about New Orleans is that it's the city that embraced its past even if that past is painful. They don't try to erase their history no matter what that history may be. In fact, Francis T. Nicholls' name is still on my dad's old high school, it's still etched in stone. His likeness is still etched above the front door.
Francis T. Nicholls was most likely racist, definitely segregationist but they haven't removed his name from the school. Even though the school itself has been renamed, it's now the Frederick A. Douglas High School, named after the famous evolutionist.
We were invited to take a look around. People who work at this school said they had old files but I couldn't imagine they've had any of my dads.
Wow, that's nice.
They showed me closets full of all records and posters dating all the way back to the 1940s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They move back after war.
COOPER: I couldn't find anything that belongs to my dad. As I was leaving, the school nurse came outside with a surprise for me. My God, that's my dad.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) a report card but, not only that I cased up there, the file cabinets (inaudible).
COOPER: This is his photo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That him. Yes, there you go.
COOPER: Oh my gosh, that's sweet of you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you.
COOPER: That's so nice.
My dad's report card. It's crazy. Do you believe that they had my dad report card all the way going back to 1944. They just had it in the file somewhere in the back. That's awesome.
(Inaudible) New Orleans in history, like, they don't throw away the history. They, you know, it's all here. It's all -- the past is very much alive in New Orleans.
My dad worked as an actor for years, appearing on stage and T.V., even at a tiny bit part in a movie called the Seven Hills of Rome. We stayed up late on night when he was on T.V. when I was a kid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey Mark..
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck tonight. I (inaudible) complete sellout. I'll be upfront leading the cheering (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good bye.
COOPER: He then became a screen writer and wrote for magazines as well.
My dad is buried in Staten Island, next to my brother who died in 1988. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about them both and wonder what they would think of me, the person I've become.
I thing about death is that after a while, you can't remember what a person sounded like, you forget all the little things that you once knew, the sound they made when they opened up for front door, the way they walk, the way they laugh.
WYATT EMORY COOPER, ANDERSON COOPER'S FATHER: My feelings about what I want my sons to be.
COOPER: A couple of months ago, Clock Tower Radio restored an interview that my father did back in 1975. E. COOPER: My relationships with my sons which are both quite extraordinary, I mean my relationship with my sons is quite extraordinary.
COOPER: I listen to it in my office at work. It was the first time I've heard my father's voice since I was 10-years-old.
EMORY COOPER: They asked me questions (inaudible). How much does a stock (inaudible) because that's what we would like to be (inaudible).
COOPER: The thing about the past is, one can't help what the zip code one was born at, what country or family you're descended from. All you can do is learn the lessons of those who came before you, their stories, their mistakes and their successes. You can't choose what family you're born into.
E.COOPER: My sons are very aware that I have certain expectations.
COOPER: All you can do is choose how you want to live your own life.
E.COOPER: (Inaudible) live with honor and with dignity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I want to thank Rizzy Harrison and all my other relatives and cousins who helped me down -- when were down in Mississippi, also Susan Chana producer of the price together. She did a great job.
I learned about Burwell, my great, great, great, great grandfather who own slaves when I took part in the PBS Series Finding Your Roots earlier at this year.
Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates is the host and Executive Producer of that great program has been helping people trace their genealogies for more than a decade.
(Inaudible) series African-American live. I spoke to him earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Professor, you helped me research my family history for your show on PBS, Finding your Roots. You've been doing that show for years now and you're the one who actually revealed to me that my great, great, great, great grandfather not only own slaves but was actually killed by one of his slave.
HENRY LOUIS GATES, PROFESSOR, FLETCHER UNIVERSITY: Yeah, Anderson when people asked me, "What the most incredible genealogy story that you've uncovered?" I said, "Its Anderson Cooper's fourth grade grandfather, Burwell Boykin." And when you were on our show, we didn't know his name.
You know, actually we found the story through a diary and the diary is in the Choctaw County, Alabama Library. And it was kept by a woman name Eleanor Finlay Campbell who was your ancestors' neighbor. And she said ...
GATES: ... that -- she told a story that Burwell had locked this slave -- his nickname was Sham in a cotton house overnight because he keep running away. And when he went to let him out the next morning your ancestor was carrying a hoe and this slave grab the hoe and beat your fourth grade grandfather to death.
And so to make sure the story was true, we went to the county records and there it was Sandy Boykin (ph). Sandy Boykin (ph) was your ancestors' slave who was hanged for murder and that a thing.
And there are black Boykins today.
COOPER: Are there really? So, there are relative, descendants of Sandy Boykin (ph) still alive today?
GATES: Oh yeah. Your ancestor owned 12 black Boykins. And they are -- they have plenty of descendants today.
Now, they find out if you're related genetically. We have to -- as you know we've done your DNA, we have to match their DNA against your DNA.
COOPER: Well, I'm up for it.
GATES: OK. Well, I think after this program a whole bunch of Boykins are going to be, you know, trying to be e-mailing you.
COOPER: That's really fascinating. Well I mean I said, you know, during the broadcast that -- I mean its one thing to, you know, to read about the evils of slavery. To suddenly discover -- because, you know, I always believe that the Cooper side was always, you know, the farmers were -- they were too poor to actually own slaves.
GATES: And they were ...
COOPER: But then to learn that one of them did was really -- I mean, its a, you know, it's a very unsettling feeling.
GATES: But you know he was killed in 1860, in May of 1860, a year before the Civil War starts.
And the Civil War, you have another amazing paradox. You have nine ancestors who fought for the confederacy. And then you have one super (inaudible) who was a general graduate of West Point who fought for the North.
And you say in your show, they could have -- they almost met on the battlefield.
COOPER: For those who are able to trace their roots, it really does give you this sense of connection of rooting in a time and a place and -- I don't know I feel differently after having done the interview with you. I feel differently after having done this project with CNN.
GATES: Well, when I asked you -- as I asked all my guests on Finding Your Roots, if you could meet one ancestor, one ancestor to whom you've been introduce today, whom we've discuss today, who would it be and you shocked me by saying it would be your father.
So, I want to ask you, what would you ask to your father Anderson if you could talk to him today?
COOPER: Wow. I haven't thought that far ahead. I mean -- what I, you know, for me my dad died when I was 10, and so the idea of being able to -- and first of all just to have heard his voice for (inaudible) was extraordinary thing but just to be able to ask him, you know, about what he thinks of me and what he think about all the things have gone since he died in our families life. And to just, you know, hear his voice and see his smile and have him talk to me again would be -- I mean, for me that would be an extraordinary thing.
So, Mr. Gates thank you so much. Thank you so much for letting me participates in your program on TBS Finding Your Roots. It's on Tuesday nights at 9:00. It's an awesome show. I'm going to watch it this week as well. And I appreciate you've been on my program was well. Thank you.
GATES: Thank you. Be careful down there Anderson.
COOPER: Well, as we said Roots, Our Journeys Home continues all this week on CNN tomorrow morning at 6:00 Eastern. Don't miss Chris Cuomo's incredibly journey to his family's history, tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 Eastern. Jake Tapper will share what he found when he look into his past, a lot of surprise there as well.
Just ahead, a reported sighting of Kim Jong-un, but is the mystery surrounding North Korea's leader really sold what really happened to him?
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Hey welcome back, a lot more happening tonight, Kyung Lah joins us with the 360 Bullet. And Kyung?
KYUNG LAH, CNN ANCHOR: Well Anderson, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reported resurfaced after five weeks out of the public eye. State media published these photos of him using a cane but it's unclear when they were taken.
Baghdad's doorsteps, local forces are having a hard tough time battling the terror group in nearby Anbar province. Some ISIS fighters are about 10 miles from Baghdad airport.
The (inaudible) phase of the Oscar Pistorius trial got underway today in South Africa, a psychologist for the defense team said the former Olympic sprinter is a broken man after the death of his girlfriend. A judge found Pistorius guilty of negligence, killing last month for the 2013 shooting of Reeva Steenkamp. The same judge will decide if he should go to prison and if so, for how long.
And police in New York are searching for a man who threw a smoke bomb into a restaurant on Friday. He popped out of subway emergency hatch, tossed the canister and then disappeared underground. The attack is raising security concerns for the city's sensitive subway. Anderson.
COOPER: So bizarre. Thanks very much. That does it for us. Thanks for watching. CNN Tonight starts now.