MovieChat Forums > Roots: The Next Generations Discussion > This familyresearch is cheating!

This familyresearch is cheating!

It's cheating i tell you!
It feels like he just wants to be a descendant of Kunta Kinte.
Look here.

1. He looks up his mother (Bertha) and doesnt care about his fathers history (Simon Haley)

2. Now he looks up Berthas mother (Cynthia) and doesnt care about her fathers history (Will Palmer)

3. So far so good, but now it's getting weird. He looks up Cynthias father (Tom) and doesnt care about Cynthias mothers history (Irene)

So now he changed from looking up mothers to fathers instead. Ok, lets move along.

4. Now he looks up Toms father (Chicken George) and doesnt care about Toms mothers history (Matilda)

5. This time he looks up Chicken Georges mother (Kizzy) and doesnt care about his fathers history (Tom Lea)

Hmm, back to mothers again now are we?

6. Then back to fathers (Kizzys father Kunta Kinte)

Now, if I would do some research on my family i would go from father to father to father..or mother to mother to mother. This is just bullcrap, Alex Haley wants do be a descendant of Kunta Kinte and that is why he research like this. Anyone could be a descendant of Kunta Kinte if he would research like this.



Yeah, I'm white...
From Sweden, from the province of Scania which once belonged to Denmark. But Sweden wanted us so bad during the 16th century so they came down to Scania and hanged us all.. burned our farms and made us fight against our danish brothers.

Oh you thought only black people had it bad? Ignorant racist is what you are..


eward196563112 (Mon Mar 17 2008 09:40:40)
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you must be white. only evil hating whites

Wow, what a racist I am disapointed IMDB would allow eward196563112 to spew such hate speech.


According to the series, the story of Kunta Kinte was passed on from generation to generation, until it reached Alex Haley, who ultimately made his book and mini series. (And arguably, he copied some parts from other books, and made up something, and in the end it gives us a false, but great story.)

So, no, his way of research and storytelling is quite logical.


" He looks up his mother (Bertha) and doesnt care about his fathers history (Simon Haley)"

FYI, he did trace his fathers history in a book called "Queen", named after his paternal grandmother. It was also on tv starring Halle Berry, so before you make your BLIND STATEMENTS, get the FACTS !



I get so sick of reading posts like this. In the Playboy interview he did in 1977, he claimed himself that the book was "faction" fiction based on facts. He was not trying to fool anyone into believing the book was 100% accurate. He was clear about that in the book and even more so in interviews right after the movie came out.
As far as just following his mothers family story, as an author you go where the story exists and at the time he had a great story to build upon with his mother's side of the family.
Simply put, he wrote a great book! It says a lot about him that in the two episodes that dealt directly with his life he showed the negative aspects of his character, both as a husband and father


Thanks for setting the record straight. I have just watched Roots and Roots: The Next Generation on DVD. Alex Haley was a great storyteller, and his work translated well to popular American TV in the late 1970s. It helps to know that he acknowledged, from the start, that his work was 'faction'. In 1991 I co-authored, with my aunt, her life story as a black, working-class Londoner born before WW1. Aunt Esther's Story has been a great success, in spite of being ignored by the mainstream. Aunt Esther passed away in 1994 at the age of 81, and the book is now out of print. In no way in the same league as Roots, at least it has helped contribute to our understanding of black British family life/history. Now what I would like to see is a British TV drama along the lines of Roots.


Actually if you have ever researched an american family history (especially a non-white history due to slaves being given their massa's names) you would have the same thing. I have researched my family tree for over 12 years, some family lines go back to egypt. Some don't go back at all.

When researching you go as far as you can on each line and move on.So if no info is found you move on to the next. Then you can revisit them. There is one line in my family that we cannot find one lick of information on. Later after asking the oldies in the family they said it was always rumored he was actually a freed slave that was "passin" but they never had proof. Following that path I did find a slave in mississippi that was the right age and first name. Surname didn't match because all slaves had their owners surname. Therefore we can't say for certain its the same one but is likely.

There is nothing wrong with flipping around between fathers and mothers- it's the researchers choice- I am related to William the Conquerer and it's not through father to father to father to father. It flips all the way back. If I didn't research every line I would not have found it.

Try maybe being less critical of others and realize it is a work of fiction- that he loosely based on his tree. He has the right to do it in any way he we all have free will.

I am white and i find it very unlikely that any white person knows what its like to be persecuted repeately for over 400 years, stolen from your homeland, hung, whipped, raped and the list could go on and on so when you are critical of a black person for being defensive maybe think of that. I doubt many non- americans could understand the black american's plight for independence and true freedom. Equality is non-existant in this country no matter what face they try to put on it.


I was wondering why there wasn't more focus on the Haley side of his family as that was his last name. I'm watching this now and was thinking wow it's only in 1914 that Simon Haley, the first with Alex Haley's last name shows up. It's good to know there is another book that picks up that side of the family as well. Must be time consuming to research your own lineage in such detail though, amazing it's even possible. I'm enjoying the story even if it's faction rather than 100% true.


There's a lot of hard work, long hours and finally luck while researching your families. In regards to following one family vs. another; please consider that every generation you go back you double the family names to search; 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great-grandparents...etc. Most people who do their 'roots' tend to zero in on one particular line at a time. Often the first one will be the one they heard about the most while growing up or the surname they carry, usually moving on to another when they hit the proverbial brick wall.

Turning your info into a story or movie- you would have to edit heavily to fit time restrictions and to prevent the plot from getting too confusing.

What Haley did was present us a good story and a good history lesson. It opens up a dialogue between teacher and student about our less than pride-evoking past (which is what I am using it for with my son who goes to a Sp Ed HS and gets nothing in the way of academics).



To OP. Cheating how?

I got the impression Kunta Kinte was the one who was adamant that neither he not his descendants forgot where they came from. Therefore he learned Kizzy some African words and how he was caught by the slavers. She in turn told Chicken George about his grandfather, Kunta Kinte, and who he was. Tom Harvey heard the story both from Kizzy and Chicken George. Cynthia Palmer heard about the African, Kunta Kinte, who was the grandfather of Chicken George. Cynthia later told both Bertha and her son Alex Haley about who their ancestors were, especially the old African, Kunta Kinte.

Why would Alex Haley try to find out about anybody else of his ancestors when he knew that he had one who was a slave and named Kunta Kinte? Of course he knew very little about him and exactly when he lived but that he saw as something he could find out.

For all I know Simon Haley never told him about his slave ancestor, because on his father's side the generations had been forgotten. Will Palmer surely didn't know much beyond his grandparents. Etc, etc.

I know that if I had heard that some ancient ancestor of mine was some interesting person than I wouldn't bother with if he was from father to father or if she was from mother to mother.


Ah. Colin. The person who accused me of having glued on false morals, but did not deign to justify the slur. Are you planning to back up your insult? Ever?

... Still waiting!

Life may throw sh*t at you. Dignity is about how you deal with the sh*t.


"Yeah, I'm white...
From Sweden, from the province of Scania which once belonged to Denmark. But Sweden wanted us so bad during the 16th century so they came down to Scania and hanged us all.. burned our farms and made us fight against our danish brothers.

Oh you thought only black people had it bad? Ignorant racist is what you are.."

Oh God, are you one of those pathetic people from Skane who sees yourself as either Danish or Skaning instead of Swedish, all these hundreds of years later?

F'ing sh!t up since 2008!


So he was trying to find if Kunta Kinte?
So what.He was the one who had become a legend in the family. Tracing his geneology the way he did was consistent with the family stories.

If I wanted to trace my roots back to Capt James Cook (as an example) I wouldn't be looking up my mother's family tree.

Love is never having to say you're sober.


Did you at least read the book or watch the movie? Alex Haley grew up partly in Henning, hearing the old stories about Chicken George, Kizzy and Kunta, which sparked his interest in these particular ancestor. Not only was he curios about these ancestors, as a writer, he was given clues by way of his Grandmother, Aunt and older cousin, who had at least known Chicken George. which enabled them to pass these stories down to Alex, which made his job of researching his maternal roots easier than the average black person. Using the information that he was given, all he had to do was put all the pieces together.

As a black woman who has tried to track my ancestors, it is almost impossible to trace your roots all the way to Africa without any prior information, especially since most of the documents were destroyed during the civil war so by the oral history that was passed down to Alex by is older relatives, he was given a huge advantage.

As for his father's family, he did do a book and movie called Queen, which was the name of his paternal grandmother, who didn't die until Alex was either in his late teens or early 20's so he was able to get first hand accounts of her life, from Queen, herself. So that's the reason he chose those particular ancestors.

You may be entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to mine.
Arimas, Samira