The landmark dramatization of Alex Haley's classic saga followed his ancestors from Africa into slavery and then to their freedom in the post-Civil War South. Americans watched in record numbers as the epic aired on eight consecutive nights and went on to (more…)
Premiered: January 23, 1977
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Alex Haley (JONES) is now a successful magazine writer; his latest assignment: an interview with Malcolm X. He later goes on to write The Autobiography of Malcolm X. After the black leader's assassination, Haley sets out to discover his own "roots" and launches a twelve-year search, which culminates with his visit to a small African village.
Simon Haley (HAREWOOD) spends World War I with the 92nd Infantry, Colored, in France. On his return to the States, Simon and his buddies Doxey (WELDON) and Haywood (CASEY) are greeted by a lynch mob in Knoxville, Tennessee. Simon finally arrives in Henning where he marries Bertha (CARA) and announces that they are going to Cornell University where he will take a master's degree in agriculture. Fourteen months later they return to Henning with their first son, Alex Haley.
Tom Harvey's daughter, Cynthia (BANFIELD) falls in love with Will Palmer (SHAW) a railroad worker who soon lands a job at the lumber company. Tensions meanwhile mount in Henning as the white community seeks to strip the blacks of their rights. Will's friend Lee Garnet (MOSLEY) is lynched after accompanying Tom (BROWN) when he fails in his attempt to register to vote.
Tom Harvey (BROWN) assumes the leadership of the black community in Henning, Tennessee from his aging father, Chicken George (LONG). Tom establishes a school but trouble brews when Col. Warner's (FONDA) son, Jim (THOMAS) falls in love with the black schoolteacher, Carrie (HAUSER). Tom meanwhile faces a crisis in his own family when his daughter Elizabeth (MORGAN) falls in love with a light-skinned negro who he considers "too white" for her to marry.
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