ROOTS VOLUME II
SUBJECTS — U.S./1629 – 1750 & Diversity;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Surviving;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect.
AGE: 12+; Not Rated;
Drama; 1977; 90 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.
MOVIE WORKSHEETS & STUDENT HANDOUTS
TWM offers the following movie worksheets to keep students’ minds on the film and to focus their attention on the lessons to be learned from the movie.
Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM’s Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.
Additional ideas for lesson plans for this movie can be found at TWM’s guide to Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories or Plays.
Roots is a video presentation of Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Volume II portrays Kunta Kinte’s voyage across the Atlantic in a slave ship and the first years of his life in America as a slave.
SELECTED AWARDS & CAST
The “Roots” series won a Golden Globe Award as the Best Television Series of 1978, nine Emmy Awards, and many other honors.
LeVar Burton, Edward Asner, Louis Gossett, Jr. Loren Greene, Robert Reed, Ralph Waite, Ji-Tu Cumbuka, Lynda Day George, Vic Maro, Paul Shaenar, Ren Woods.
David Greene and John Erman.
BENEFITS OF THE MOVIE
The series describes important aspects of the black experience in the U.S. and, for all Americans, helps in facing the legacies of slavery and segregation.
MINOR. There is some violence in this film. It is appropriate to the message of the movie.
Before watching the movie, review the Helpful Background section and describe its contents to your child. Immediately after the movie ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question, the Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Question under Surviving, and the Question on Morality and Ethics.
See the TWM student handout Slavery: A World-Wide View, Then and Now.
The “Golden Triangle” was a shipping route by which American (mostly New England) boat owners would take tobacco and other agricultural products and sell them in England; purchase manufactured goods in England; take those to various destinations to obtain commodities and then return to North America. The shipping triangle shown in this episode was tobacco to England (leg one), trade goods to Africa (leg two), slaves to America (leg three). Other trading routes included tobacco and other agricultural goods being sent to England, traded there for manufactured goods, which would then be taken to the West Indies and exchanged for sugar or rum, which would then be taken to North America. Yet another route was ice from the ponds of New England, taken to the West Indies and traded for sugar or rum, which was then taken to England and traded for manufactured goods, which were then brought home to New England.
One of the most corrupting aspects of slavery was the sexual exploitation of female slaves. This was true of Roman slavery as well as slavery in the U.S. (see Spartacus). This episode shows a young slave girl being encouraged by her grandmother to enter the hut of the overseer to serve as his bed wench. These problems are elaborated in later “Roots” segments.
1. Should the mother have protested and tried to stop her daughter from being taken as a “bed wench” by the overseer? What would this have accomplished?
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS (CHARACTER COUNTS)
Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.
(Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements)
1. Is it possible for a slave owner to act respectfully toward his or her slave?
No. The very nature of the slave/master relationship is for the owner to take advantage of the slave. The slave serves the owner without recompense. A good employer/employee relationship is much different. The employer pays for the work of the employee at a reasonable rate. An employer can also train an employee so that he can undertake new responsibilities, have a more satisfying job and make more money.
ASSIGNMENTS, PROJECTS & ACTIVITIES
BRIDGES TO READING
Older children who are good readers will enjoy the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley.
This Learning Guide was last updated on July 21, 2011.