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Roots was a TV show that had a huge impact on America. The entire nation tuned in to follow the journey of Kunte Kinta and Banta to America. The series is based on Alex Haley’s best-selling book, Roots: The Sage of an American Family

Some scenes from Roots could be used with a US History course. Lessons could be used with a unit on slavery or Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The theme of Continuity and Change can be analyzed to show a connection between the impact of the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin on public opinion, just like Roots impacted Americans in 1977.  

With several hours of footage, it is best to select short scenes to share with students. One way to present the material is to show a clip, then have students create a journal entry based on the scene and a character. The great thing about the creative writing assignment is that there is no wrong answers. 

Teachers should be sure to preview the scenes before sharing with the class. There are many sections with brief nudity and the n-word is used throughout the episodes.

Episode #1: We have created a summary of the scenes from Episode #1. The time period covered is 1750 – 1765. The episode covers village life, the capturing of slaves, slave trade, slave revolts and the middle passage.