Roots: The Next Generations

Season 1 Episode 7

Part 7

Aired Sunday 8:00 PM Feb 25, 1979 on ABC
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Episode Summary

In the exciting conclusion, it is now 1960 in Henning, Tennessee, 10 years after Alex's wife Nan left him, and Alex attends the funeral for his great Aunt Elizabeth. He has finally succeeded in a writing career by publishing free-lance articles including interviews with Minister Malcolm X of the Nation of Islam and George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi Party. Alex lands a contract to ghost-write the autobiography of Malcolm X, although Malcolm is assassinated before the book is published. Alex then realizes that he should write a book about his own family and he obsessively researches his origins, alienating his new girlfriend in the process. After identifying the language of the words passed down to him, he manages to get an advance that will allow him to travel to Gambia, West Africa. Once there, he is taken by boat to the Griot for the Kinte clan. After the Griot retells centuries of history, Alex finally hears the name of Kunta Kinte and the story of the drum that lead to his capture into slavery, marking the end of his search for his family's roots.moreless

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  • What we all have been waiting for...

    This conclusion was what I and millions and of others were looking forward to - the story behind how the author Alex Haley stumbled up the key pieces of information necessary to trace his family back to Africa and begin working on his book "Roots: The Saga of an American Family", which became an instant bestseller in 1976 and spawned what still stands as the most watched miniseries in U.S. history (eventually leading to this miniseries as a sequel) - "Roots", which aired in 1977.

    His story only goes as far as the 1960s in this miniseries, however the drama of the research into his family genealogy, without the means of the computing power or DNA analysis that we enjoy today, is established here. Also established was his obsession that serves to drive the people closest to him out of his life. As side notes to continue to offer historic context, Alex's interactions with controversial figures of the day including Malcolm X and George Lincoln, bring context to his background as a free-lance journalist.

    Probably the most fascinating sequences involve Alex's travel to West Africa and his meeting the Kinte Gringo or storyteller, who is then shown to recite nearly 200 years of the 500 years of history that he has memorized, leading to the familiar tale that we know from "Roots" about Kunta Kinte and his capture from his homeland. The scene, well portrayed by veteran actor James Earl Jones, where Alex yells out "I FOUND YOU!" repeatedly, most definitely brings tears to the viewer's eyes as we have now come full circle within the author's life. The character's embracing of a distant relative with a surname of Kinte offers the final poignant touch.

    Definitely the best of the episodes in terms of the emotional payoff at the end!moreless

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