The 1977 TV miniseries “Roots” told the story of a young African man, Kunta Kinte, sold into slavery in America. It was adapted from the Alex Haley book. And on Memorial Day, the History Channel debuted its take on the classic. The new “Roots” aired over four nights from May 30 through June 2. The goal was to reimagine the story to reach a new audience.
Stephane Dunn, associate professor and director of the cinema, television and emerging media studies program at Morehouse College, discussed why she thought it "an important step to remake" the series in an conversation with On Point Radio host Tom Ashbrook.
"The truth of the story, both the beauties, the trauma, the difficult sojourn of a family — that remains the same," Dunn said. "But the nuances of this story, to show and tease out details of life in Africa before the Middle Passage — we now see that."
Dunn also described the importance of wrestling with America's difficult history of slavery in mass cultural media.
"We have consistently refused to go to 'the Hell of Slavery' in this country," Dunn said. "We think we've dealt with slavery, but we have not."
You can hear the whole conversation above.
This segment aired on June 7, 2016.