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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Roots fans may be surprised that it's been discredited.



“Roots” was based on the late Alex Haley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning runaway best-seller, which was billed as a factual account (albeit with some fictional embellishments) of his family’s history from Africa through slavery in the South to present times. All this was said to be based on generations of oral history corroborated by painstakingly researched outside documents.

But as I wrote in these pages back in 2002 (when ABC, which aired the original series, declined to broadcast a 25th anniversary tribute), historians and genealogists now widely agree that “Roots” has been discredited as a historical hoax.

More than a decade later, most people remain totally unaware of the troubling issues behind “Roots” — or simply don’t want to hear that this still-acclaimed work was essentially a fake.