Sunday, April 4, 2010


I recently finished reading Alex Haley's "Roots".  I have been curious about it for a long time but really haven't know what it was about.  I knew it had something to do with slavery but I had no idea about the ride I was in for.

This is the story of Alex Haley's family.  Through something that could only be called miraculous, the story of his African roots were passed on to reach his ears even through the horrors of slavery.  One of my favorite classes in college, in fact the class that helped me change my major to history, was Black American History.

We took a good look at slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation, Jazz music, the Civil Rights Movement and everything inbetween.  It was focused mainly on the modern Civil Rights Movement.  Malcolm X is a fascinating person.  I highly recommend his auto-biography that was written by Alex Haley and dicated by Malcolm X.  I am fascinated with the time period and horrified at what happened.  It still amazes me that a human being can treat another human being so poorly simply because of skin color.  That's for another day though.

I picked up Roots, all 895 pages of it and read.  Alex Haley has done a masterful job.  His research and his family ties have put together a story that tells the whole of Black American history through the eyes of a family living it.  History is traditionally written by the victors, but this history is written by the victor in another sense.  A stronger victory.  The victory of a family who knows who they are.

When I was in my Black American History class I was appalled at how ignorant I was.  Appalled that none of this had been taught in high school.  Or if it was it was glossed over.  Basic information with no heart. Such a sheltered life we lead sometimes, never knowing anything of the ugliness that also scars our country.  Don't get me wrong, I love the United States.  I love the freedom that we have here.  I love the ideal that we strive for.  But I never have been one for blind faith.  One can only move forward if one knows where one stands.

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