Watch Roots: The Next Generations

Created by Alex Haley, Roots: The Next Generations tells the related tales of former slaves building lives for themselves in the New South after the Civil War. Produced by Stan Margulies, it stars James Earl Jones, Irene Cara, and Debbi Morgan. It is 1882, West Tennessee. The movie begins with elderly Chicken George Moore moving in with his family, all of whom are descendants of Kunta Kinte, a man brought from Africa to be a slave and who subsequently sired many children. George's relatives include Tom Harvey, Tom's wife Irene, and their two daughters. Tom is well respected in the local black community and even manages to coexist with the town's leading white patriarch, Col. Frederick Warner, a onetime confederate officer. Despite this seeming peace, considerable tension exists between blacks and whites owing to Jim Crow laws.

Chicken George, a former slave, is so called because he once trained his master's fighting cocks. His presence serves as a link between the old and new generations of Kunta Kinte's descendants.

Carrie Harden, a young black schoolteacher, is courted by Col. Warner's son, Jim. Meanwhile, Tom pushes to have Carrie hired on as the schoolteacher for the new all black school. Col. Warner disapproves of his only son's interracial dalliance, and urges Tom to close down the all black school. Tom is almost convinced, but when he quarrels with his daughter, Elizabeth, after expressing dislike for her biracial suitor, he has a change of heart. The all black school is kept open and Carrie employed. Jim and Carrie marry, and Col. Warner promptly disowns Jim, though promises to protect them from any racial backlash at the hands of white hooligans. Jim is welcomed into Carrie's church family.

Tom and Elizabeth grow apart, though repeatedly try to reconcile. Tom's other daughter courts a pleasant, hardworking boy named Will; they marry. Chicken George dies. The first chapter in the story of Kunta Kinte's progeny comes to a close.

Warner Bros.
1 Season, 7 Episodes
February 18, 1979
Drama, History
7.8/10
Cast: Debbi Morgan, Dorian Harewood, Paul Koslo, Stan Shaw
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Roots: The Next Generations Full Episode Guide

  • Alex Haley (JAMES EARL JONES) is now a successful magazine writer; his latest assignment: an interview with Malcolm X. He later goes on to write The Autobiography of Malcolm X. After the black leader's assassination, Haley sets out to discover his own "roots" and launches a twelve-year search, which culminates with his visit to a small African village.

  • Alex Haley (DAMON EVANS) joins the Coast Guard after leaving college. He meets and marries Nan Branch (DEBBIE ALLEN) before being sent to the South Pacific during WW II. In the service he also discovers a passion for writing inspired by a lucrative business writing love letters for his shipmates. After the war he reenlists and moves to New York with Nan and their two children. His marriage crumbles as he spends all of his time writing.

  • 12-year-old Alex Haley (CHRISTOFF ST. JOHN) learns his family history from grandfather Will Palmer (STAN SHAW). Simon Haley (DORIAN HAREWOOD) lands a professorship at an Alabama college where he works with the local rural sharecroppers, helping them increase production, in addition to his classroom work. Bertha (IRENE CARA) learns she has a fatal illness and dies at an early age.

  • Simon Haley (DORIAN HAREWOOD) spends World War I with the 92nd Infantry, Colored, in France. On his return to the States, Simon and his buddies Doxey (CHARLES WELDON) and Haywood (BERNIE CASEY) are greeted by a lynch mob in Knoxville, Tennessee. Simon finally arrives in Henning where he marries Bertha (IRENE CARA) and announces that they are going to Cornell University where he will take a master's degree in agriculture. Fourteen months later they return to Henning with their first son, Alex Haley.

  • Seventeen years later: Will Palmer (STAN SHAW) prospers as the owner of the lumber company. His daughter Bertha (IRENE CARA) goes to college where she falls in love with Simon Haley (DORIAN HAREWOOD), a poor sharecropper's son. Bertha picks up Simon's diploma as he leaves school a week early to join the Army and World War I.

  • Tom Harvey's daughter, Cynthia (BEVER-LEIGH BANFIELD) falls in love with Will Palmer (STAN SHAW) a railroad worker who soon lands a job at the lumber company. Tensions meanwhile mount in Henning as the white community seeks to strip the blacks of their rights. Will's friend Lee Garnet (ROGER MOSLEY) is lynched after accompanying Tom (GEORG STANFORD BROWN) when he fails in his attempt to register to vote.

  • Tom Harvey (GEORG STANFORD BROWN) assumes the leadership of the black community in Henning, Tennessee from his aging father, Chicken George (AVON LONG). Tom establishes a school but trouble brews when Col. Warner's (HENRY FONDA) son, Jim (RICHARD THOMAS) falls in love with the black schoolteacher, Carrie (FAY HAUSER). Tom meanwhile faces a crisis in his own family when his daughter Elizabeth (DEBBI MORGAN) falls in love with a light-skinned negro who he considers "too white" for her to marry.

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Roots: The Next Generations is currently available to watch and stream on Warner Bros.. You can also buy, rent Roots: The Next Generations on demand at Amazon, Google Play online.

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