Archive for June 15th, 2018

by Adam Ferenz

Not the first ever miniseries on American television, but perhaps the best. It may be somewhat dated today, a tad to the melodramatic side, but for the time, it was a necessary part of the maturation of American television. We meet Kunta Kinte as an infant, held by his father before the moon, which his father tells that infant “behold, the only thing greater than yourself” and this becomes the thesis of the series.

From the shores of west Africa, to the plantations of Virginia, the Carolinas and a farm in Tennessee, to the battlefields of the first world war, and the jungles of Kunta Kinte’s home, the series spans the centuries and globe in an effort to tell not just the tale of the Alex Haley’s maternal family, but to give an impression of what every African American descended from the chained days of slavery has experienced.

The second volume is no less effective, an epic of a family struggling to find their place in a land that is now home, without being their own. From the horrors of The Reconstruction to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, covering African Americans in the armed services in both World Wars, the struggles of black academics to make inroads in their chosen profession, Haley’s research into his family, and the slow pace of progress during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Next Generation is no less epic, and perhaps even more urgent than the original. (more…)

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