When I think of slavery, the first thing that comes to mind is the TV Series – Roots. Roots followed the author’s family tree from arriving in America as a slave up to modern times (Roots: The Next Generation). I’ve only seen it once but the impact lasted a lifetime and affected how I saw the world in many ways. That being said, imagine my surprise to read this quote about Alex Haley concerning his work.
There are some very big jobs at hand for black America — and looking back at centuries past is a costly distraction from the work that needs to be done here and now. Moreover, the past that people are looking back at in “Roots” is not a wholly real past. When challenged by professional historians, Alex Haley called his work “faction” — part fact and part fiction. He said that he had tried to give his people some myths to live by.
It was not that “Roots” merely got some details wrong. It presented some crucially false pictures of what had actually happened — false pictures that continue to dominate thinking today.
Q: What was false about Roots?
An Alternative Viewpoint