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Got a good reason For taking the easy way out


Re-reading the famed Alex Haley novel, ROOTS has once again cast a spell over me. This time [unlike when I read the book the first time in the '70s], I have a computer to do more research on the subject of Slave Ships, Haley's ROOTS, history and even some new things I would never thought existed. Of course I realize, as I did 30 years ago, that his writing of his own ancestors is part fact and part fiction. For me, it still does not do away with the intenseness of such an historical event. An era of people being sold and purchased to work the plantations' fields, etc. all for the profits of the owners.

Since its landmark debut on television as a mini-series in 1977, and reading the book prior to viewing the series, the writing captured my attention, dramatically. I've been caught up in reading and reading about the Civil War in our country's history, for the fact of slavery. Always, it has inspired me to read more.

Every time the same questions arise: Why slavery? Why African American? Why not pay the hired hands as such? Why such animalistic treatment of human beings? And one poignant quandary that continually crosses my mind "What would the country be like if the Civil War's ending was reversed"? Things like that. It still today boggles my mind.


Reading the novel for a second time, it's even more interesting than the first go-'round. I still find myself not wanting to shut the light off at night [during my reading time] so I can continue turning the pages to read what happens, tho I still remember vividly.


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Since I picked up the 30th anniversary edition in paperback at Wal Mart, I've been looking up bits and pieces while I have a few extra minutes in the day to learn more.

There is now a Kunte Kinte Memorial Foundation in Maryland. It was erected and opened to the public on or near the ground that Mr. Haley believes his ancestor from Africa was sold. Where Kunte Kinte first stepped foot on American soil.
Located in Annapolis Maryland. The sculptures around the memorial area is of Mr. Haley's envisioned story of his African ancestor...looking out toward the Chesapeake Bay, he 'retells' the story of one particular slave. As of this writing, the memorial is the ONLY memorial in the United States to actually name, place and tell of the arrival of an African enslavement.

I remember watching the series on ABC during dinner and those big black/brown eyes of Kunte Kinte [the young Kunte, played by LeVar Burton] ---and the sadness that fell over me. There were anxieties of guilt knowing people before me did this to ensure their own increase in monetary holdings and plantations, even tho I wasn't part the historical era of buying and selling and trading slaves. I felt the fear, I felt the compassion, and the struggles and unknowns as he sailed to the new world! No more family, nothing. Then, the mistreatment from his master's foreman. So, so many things and questions evolved from watching. I also remember nearly cheering [in fact Bud says I did!] When Sandy Duncan (character "Missy Anne" -white), needed water to drink and Cicely Tyson (character "Binta" -black), spit in her cup before handing it over! I liked that so much, it still remains in my mind!! --It's like a non-violent, harmless, revenge, and it feels good.

And yet, I read it once again. The saga and the heart breaking story of slavery. What it was like for the Africans. With more intense understanding of the book, it's better and better each page I turn!! For me, it is well worth the 2nd time around. And I just may save the book this time instead of trading it in at the used bookstore, and years later read it again. Yes, for me, it's that good.


[except for the first picture of the book on my nightstand, photos courtesy of internet sites]

The blog entry that follows is a bit on the 'light side' ---some SUNDAY humor.



5 comments :

  1. Those are definitely questions that enter one's mind when considering the horrible things done to these people. I have never read the actual text. I think I'd like to someday.

    :-) Susan

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  2. That book was a terrific read. I think I'll get it out of the library again.

    I found the story very moving as well as horrific. How could people treat other people like that? What gives them the right to think white skin is more superior to black? I have asked these questions for years when I have read about America, India and Australia...the native peoples being treated so badly. Then the slavery issue...there is a lot to answer for with that.

    I shall get off my soapbox now. Great post, Anni, it makes one think.

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  3. Anni, I have a sweet award for you over at my blog!! You always leave me such uplifting commets!

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  4. I had the same feeling as you when I read the book, just when it came out. I had crossed in 1971 some Southern States in the US and was scandalized that there were still banks for white and blacks although these racial laws had been abolished. I recently read that until 1979 mixed marriages were still not allowed and when you married in another State you couldn't go back home. Black people were considered as no humans but animals. We have a senegalese friend who is now Belgian and married to a Belgian. He told us that in Senegal the places where black people where first mesured, teeth checked, weight and then sold are still there and mostly for tourists now. They just did it like for horses. If you listen to some people they still think today that blacks are not humans ! I even once met an American who wondered where the blacks came from he didn't know anything about slavery ! Most of them came from Senegal, they apparently were the strongest once in all African countries.

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  5. I remember watching Roots when I was little and had no clue about slavery. I was really upset by it all!

    The book inspired me to research my own family tree as I'm sure it did many others.

    I don't think it really matters that much of it was fabricated. It had a major impact and only for the good.

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