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Colonialism & Slavery in Roots

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The chains tear into his flesh. Blood flows from where the iron eats away into his flesh. He fails to lose thoughts of his dissatisfaction with his current circumstance. He is a slave, and he is not free. The wound on his backs from whippings is his constant companion. This situation is not unique. Countless Blacks were subject to this sort of mistreatment by their white slave masters in the New World that became the United States of America. According the film Roots, White Americans stripped away the rights of free Blacks to create slaves for their plantations because the needs of White slave owners outweighed freedom for people that were different than them. The 1976 film Roots that was based on Alex Haley’s novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, illustrates the problems with the early formation of the colonies in the Americas. Social stratification is the basis for the film Roots, and it appears through Kunta Kinte’s own experiences with his Gambia tribe in Africa, through the relationship between Africans, white slave traders, the white slave crew, and the white plantation owners, through slavery fueling the emergence of colonialism, through the formation of social classes within the American colonies.
Social stratification makes an initial appearance in the film Roots through Kunta Kinte’s involvement with the Gambia tribe. During his birth, Omoro, Kunta’s father, waits outside while his mother, Binta, gives birth to him (Roots). The father waiting outside while the mother gives birth exemplifies the social structure within Kunta’s tribe. There is a clear separation between men and women. The men are the warriors, and the women are the vehicle for producing new children, and neither party interacts with the...

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...gh Kunta Kinte’s own experiences with his Gambia tribe in Africa, through the relationship between Africans, white slave traders, the white slave crew, and the white plantation owners, through slavery fueling the emergence of colonialism, through the formation of social classes within the American colonies. Like that slave, the blood of many slaves fed the literature in early America. The works of Olaudah Equaiano, Harriet Jacobs, and Fredrick Douglas drove forth the truth that people that come from former slaves, or slaves themselves, can create great works of literature to shape America. Without the works of black people, the symphony of American literature sounds like a song that is missing an important note.

Works Cited

Roots. 1976. Producer Stan Margulies. Perf. LeVar Burton, Edward Asner, and Louis Gossett, Jr.
Warner Home Video, 2001. DVD.
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