John McWhorter ―' Roots' of a new conversation about race
As we take in the new version of "Roots" this week, we have heard, and will hear again, that both versions of this miniseries, as well as Alex Haley's novel which inspired it, challenge America to "come to terms with" its history in slavery.
The original "Roots," which aired in 1977 to record audiences still flushed from America's bicentennial, seared slavery into the American consciousness in an unprecedented way. Never before had the whole nation seen slavery enacted so vividly and with such tragic pull.
Staying up past my bedtime night after night to see the show with my parents remains one of the most arresting memories of my childhood. There was no home video yet, so I was never sure how I might ever see such a show again.