"Roots" Anniversary

By Tashun Chism

This month marks the 30th Anniversay of the controversial ABC mini-series, "Roots." Based on the best-selling novel by Alex Haley, "Roots" tells the story of one of Haley's ancestors being kidnapped from Africa and brought to America as a slave.

"It was very difficult for me to watch "Roots" becuase of how our people were treated, and I'm the decendent - the great-granddaughter - of a slave. Many times, I would have to stop and leave the room to come back and watch the rest of it," said Black history Enthusiast Betty Kennedy.

Kennedy is very proud of her heritage. Her home is full of colorful African-American art and literature. She even has a framed piece of art autographed by Alex Haley himself and given to her as a gift from a friend. But, Kennedy says, "Roots" was important. not only for African-Americans, but Americans of all races and ethnicities.

"It gave every person, all people of all races, a chance to study their history and where they came from. So, really, Mr. Haley set the pace for all people to have an opportunity to study their history," Kennedy said.

"We watched it on television when it came out, and I read the book. It's a real sad story, and I'm sorry that all that happened in our county," said Lufkin resident Winona Hood.

"I think anything with longevity like the mini-series "Roots" gives knowledge to all citizens of America. It just brings more culture to everyone, and just brings more knowledge and education to the country. So, anything like that is positive," Stephen F. Austin State University student Ricky Smith said.

Kennedy says, even 30 years later, the story of "Roots" still holds a valuable lesson for all Americans.

"Learn to digest it, even as hard as it has been for all of us, and study it that we might understand that period better, that we might live better."