Roots: The Next Generations

Season 1 Episode 3

Part 3

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 20, 1979 on ABC
out of 10
User Rating
5 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

The year is 1914 and Will and Cynthia Palmer's daughter Bertha heads off to college, eventually meeting and falling in love with a poor but hard-working fellow student named Simon Haley. Meanwhile Jim and Carrie Warner's son has become a doctor but because he is black, he is prevented from treating his own dying white grandfather, Colonel Warner. Bertha returns home from college for break to find the Ku Klux Klan has come to town and Simon returns to his home in Georgia to learn that his share-cropping family can't afford his tuition anymore and his father is ready to put him back to work in the fields. Simon manages to find work as a Pullman porter on the railroads to earn money during the summer, but also attracts a benefactor - a kind journalist who he served on a train route. In 1918, rather than attend graduation, Simon enlists in the army and heads off for war, heeding the words of Dr. W.E.B. Dubois, but leaving behind a stunned and grief-stricken Bertha.moreless

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  • A heartwarming tale in the midst of despair...

    If anything, Ossie Davis saves the day for this episode in his role playing a seasoned mentor for a group of Pullman Porters, underscores his talent and steals the show. One can actually tuck themselves under his character's wing and feel safe within the ugly world in which they must live. And because you become attached to him, it is even more heartbreaking when the character is laid off after a lifetime on the job, but you know that he'll find something at some point.

    Overall, the episode moves the story into the next generation of the family as World War I commences. A bit preachy at times while overtly trying to make note of the popular debates and philosophies between W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington a more central theme than it needed to be given these characters' circumstances (but apparently done to frame the history of the era), the performances, particularly that of Dorian Harewood as the self-effacing Simon Haley, propel the story along nicely.moreless
Michael Alldredge

Michael Alldredge

Mr. Davidson

Guest Star

Bever-Leigh Banfield

Bever-Leigh Banfield

Cynthia Palmer

Guest Star

Fay Hauser

Fay Hauser

Carrie Barden

Guest Star

Debbi Morgan

Debbi Morgan

Elizabeth Harvey

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Dad Jones: (in reference to Simon Haley) He's saving his money for his schoolin'. Now go on back there and play with yourself and your trick dice.
      Porter #1: What you mean trick?
      Dad Jones: Some of them dice of yours so crooked that when you throw 'em, they don't stand straight, they leans.
      Porter #1: Now you listen to me old man--
      Dad Jones: (pulls out a straight edge blade and holds it out in front of him) Lead this fool not into temptation Lord, 'cause I may just have to cut him every where exceptin' on the bottom of his feet.

  • NOTES (1)