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Roots: The Next Generations - TV Mini-Series (1979)
Roots: The Next Generations
Continuing the story of Pulitzer-prize winning author Alex Haley's ancestors, this award-winning sequel to Roots picks up the story at the conclusion of the American Civil War, and covers the significant historic events that impacted Haley and his family, from Reconstruction and Jim Crow, through World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. The epic account concludes during the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s when the author himself tracks down and eventually meets his distant kin in Gambia, West Africa while preparing to write what would become his ground-breaking novel—Roots: The Saga of an American Family.

Roots: The Next Generations • TV Mini-Series (1979)
Roots rocked the cultural landscape in the late 1970s, creating a new wave of awareness of African American history. That wave opened the door for its sequel, Roots: The Next Generations, even more of a star-studded event than the original. With stars like Olivia de Havilland, Henry Fonda, Marlon Brando, Georg Stanford Brown, and James Earl Jones eager to partake in the tale, the sequel follows the rest of the saga of the family of author Alex Haley, from where Roots ended shortly after the end of the American Civil War, up to the 1970s when Alex Haley was researching and writing his earth-shattering and ground-breaking family story.
Roots: The Next Generations
Roots: The Next Generations • Video Trailer
While nothing can rival the power of the original Roots' unflinching look at the slave trade and slave life in the early years of this country, the sequel is still full of rich African American history, from Reconstruction, to Jim Crow, through the Great Depression, to the Civil Rights movement and the early rumblings of black power.
Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland are respectable in their period-piece roles, but the real power of this sequel is in the more immediate concerns of Alex Haley and his own experience of prejudice while building a stellar reputation as a writer and journalist in the 1960s and 1970s. One of the most unsettling scenes takes place then, when Haley interviews the head of the American Nazi Party, George Lincoln Rockwell, played with chilling diffidence by Marlon Brando. (Brando won an Emmy for this performance.) Haley is also challenged by his fractious interview with Malcolm X, portrayed by a gripping Al Freeman Jr. It was in this mini-series where James Earl Jones launched his acting career playing Alex Haley with nuance and heart, but with a humanizing set of his own demons.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 1
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 1
Henning, TN, 1882: Kunta Kinte's progeny live free, although the family isn't treated equally. Jim Crow laws are on the rise. Tom Harvey, now the family head, has opened a school and is pressed by ex-Confederate Colonel Warner to close it when Warner's son falls in love with the schoolmarm (woman schoolteacher). But Tom knows education can help break the chains of second-class citizenship.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 2
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 2
1896. "I is a free man!" Tom Harvey thunders, yet threats to freedom abound. An unfair literacy test impedes Tom's right to vote, and hard-luck Lee Garnet is murdered as an "example" to others. The courtship of Tom's daughter Cynthia and Will Palmer is a tender counterpoint to the violence. Their first child Bertha George will become the mother of Alex Haley.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 3
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 3
1914. As Henning grows, so does the lumber company run by Will Palmer. He sends his daughter Bertha to Lane College, where she meets her future husband, poor sharecropper's son Simon Haley. Simon works as a Pullman to earn college money, learning the ropes from longtime porter Dad Jones. When America enters the war to end all wars, Simon enlists.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 4
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 4
Institutionalized military bias shackles America's World War I black troops. Simon fights in France with the 92nd Infantry, Colored. He returns to marry Bertha; their first child is Alexander Murray Palmer Haley.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 5
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 5
1932. The influences that shape young Alex Haley come into focus. Grandfather Will shows him the section of California Redwood charting the family history. Now a professor, Simon emphasizes education. When cousin Georgia and others recount stories of Africa, Alex listens intently. But it is also a time of loss: Bertha dies at a young age.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 6
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 6
Restless Alex leaves college and enrolls in the Coast Guard. During World War II service in the Pacific, he discovers his gift for writing and decides to make journalism his livelihood. His single-minded career pursuit costs him his marriage to Nan.
Roots: The Next Generations • Episode 7
Roots: The Next Generations Episode 7
"We don't need no X," Cousin Georgia says. "We knows our name: Kinte." The "X" refers to Malcolm X, who substitutes the letter for his unknown African name. Alex wins the controversial leader's trust and later collaborates on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Alex draws top journalistic assignments, including a tense interview with American Nazi leader George Lincoln Rockwell (Marlon Brando in an Emmy-winning performance). Then Alex begins a 12-year quest to confirm his family's story.

Roots: The Next Generations • Cast Members
•  Georg Stanford Brown - Tom Harvey•  Lynne Moody - Irene Harvey•  Debbi Morgan - Elizabeth Harvey
•  Beah Richards - Cynthia Harvey Palmer•  Henry Fonda - Colonel Frederick Warner•  Olivia de Havilland - Mrs. Warner
•  Richard Thomas - Jim Warner•  Marc Singer - Andy Warner•  Stan Shaw - Will Palmer
•  Fay Hauser - Carrie Barden•  Irene Cara - Bertha Palmer Haley•  Avon Long - Chicken George Moore
•  Roger E. Mosley - Lee Garnet•  Paul Koslo - Earl Crowther•  Harry Morgan - Bob Campbell
•  Dorian Harewood - Simon Haley•  Ruby Dee - Queen Haley•  Hal Williams - Alec Haley
•  Greg Morris - Beeman Jones•  Brian Stokes Mitchell - John Dolan•  Ja'net Du Bois - Sally Harvey
•  Slim Gaillard - Sam Wesley•  George Voskovec - Mr. Goldstein•  Jason Wingreen - Judge Quartermain
•  Charles Robinson - Luke Bettiger•  Ossie Davis - Dad Jones•  Kene Holliday - Detroit
•  Albert Popwell - Fader•  John Rubinstein - Lt. Hamilton Ten Eyck•  Bernie Casey - Bubba Haywood
•  Pam Grier - Francey•  Roosevelt Grier - Big Slew Johnson•  James Daly - RSM Boyce
•  Percy Rodriguez - Boyd Moffatt•  Robert Culp - Lyle Pettijohn•  Dina Merrill - Mrs. Hickinger
•  Brock Peters - Ab Decker•  Bever-Leigh Banfield - Cynthia Palmer•  Paul Winfield - Dr. Horace Huguley
•  Lynn Hamilton - Cousin Georgia•  Kristoff St. John - Alex Haley (child)•  Logan Ramsey - D.L. Lewis
•  Dennis Fimple - Sheriff Duffy•  Damon Evans - Alex Haley (age 17-25)•  Debbie Allen - Nan Branch Haley
•  Andy Griffith - Cdr. Robert Munroe•  Diahann Carroll - Zeona Haley•  Carolyn Jones - Mrs. Moore
•  Rafer Johnson - Nelson•  Carmen McRae - Lila•  John Hancock - Scotty
•  Telma Hopkins - Daisy•  Kim Fields - Lydia Haley•  Milt Kogan - Mel Klein
•  James Earl Jones - Alex Haley•  Howard Rollins - George Haley•  Marlon Brando - George Lincoln Rockwell
•  Al Freeman, Jr. - Malcolm X•  Barbara Barrie - Dodie Brattle•  Linda Hopkins - Singer
•  Bobby Short - Pianist•  Lee Chamberlin - Odile Richards•  Norman Fell - Bernie Raymond
•  James Broderick - Dr. Lewis•  Michael Constantine - Dr. Vansina•  Johnny Sekka - Ebau Manga
•  Zakes Mokae - African Minister•  Claudia McNeil - Sister Will Ada 
Roots: The Next Generations • Reviews
"I cried through out watching this powerful movie. Roots: The Next Generations documents the history of Alex Haley's family from the time they were set free from slavery all the way up until Alex is reunited with his family in Africa. This movie is inspirational in that I can identify with these people since my family was also taken from Africa and enslaved. I would urge everyone to view this movie for the history that it offers. The acting was also great. Alex Haley, thank you for sharing your wonderful history to the world. This is the best movie that I have ever witnessed in my life." - Laurel, Maryland.
"For those who have seen it, it is a blast from the past and just as rewarding as Roots. For those who have not had the experience, this will make an impression on your life you will never forget, just like your parents and grandparents had. Never will this type of thing be duplicated. Roots and this sequel will eventually fall into the category that holds achievements like The Ten Commandments, Gone With The Wind, and other masterpiece visuals that become a must-see for every generation to come." - Wells, Indiana.
"Roots: The Next Generations is honest, informative, and a must view for young people (especially African American) to learn to cherish and appreciate the freedom they have. Freedoms of education, speech, equal opportunities, racial harmony, and the freedom to be independent, and be the best you can be." - Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
"This series impacted my life in a inspiring way. I learned a lot about American history and the perseverance of African-Americans. It is a must-see for every human being regardless of race, culture, or nationality" - San Antonio, Texas.
"The story of Roots is a most comprehensive journey through time of Alex Haley's search for his lineage. This true story is portrayed on film with the highest caliber actors of its time. The film is true to Haley's written production. Character development is rich! This is a must see movie for all." - Wakeman, Ohio.
Continue Reading The Next Installment of Roots Entitled: Roots: The Gift

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