Gather as if @ Grand Film Discussion: Roots
Join us for the second in our Film Discussion Series as we dive into Roots (Season 1; Episode 1)
Films within the Gather as if @ Grand 2020 program, Racism: Roots, Resolves, and Results, have been curated by Ms. Linda Carter Pete, who will provide a study guide to all registrants in order to facilitate study, reflection, and conversation.
MOVIE #2: Roots (Season 1; Episode 1)
ABOUT: Roots is a 2016 American miniseries and a remake of the 1977 miniseries with the same name, based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. It first aired on May 30, 2016, and stars Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Anika Noni Rose, T.I., and South African actress Nokuthula Ledwaba. Roots received critical acclaim, with praise for the acting abilities of the cast, the faithfulness to the original, and the modern changes.
WHEN: November 19, 2020; 7–8:15 pm
WHERE: Virtual Film Discussion on Zoom (details will be sent to all registrants).
HOW: Ahead of the November 19 discussion event, plan on viewing the movie through your streaming service such as Amazon Prime or locate a DVD to borrow from a local library, etc. All registrants will be sent a study guide to facilitate your own reflection on the film and spark discussion.
DOWNLOAD: Film Study Guide—Roots Season 1 Ep 1 Study Guide 2
PLOT—PART 1 (from Wikipedia): In the 1760s, Kunta Kinte (Malachi Kirby) is a Mandinka warrior from Jufureh in The Gambia, in West Africa. Kunta’s family is loyal to the Mandinka king and are resistant to the Europeans. This, however, means the Kinte family faces the danger of reprisal from the rival Koro family, who trade African slaves for English guns. One day, Kunta is taken off into the jungle with other young boys for manhood training. During a test in which Kunta must run through the jungle in a certain amount of time, he sees a man’s dead body in a canoe. Kunta then sees the Koros in a separate boat, hunting for vulnerable people to capture. Kunta reports this to his teachers, who decide that it’s best for training to end.
After a ceremony, Kunta tells his father that he wants to go to university in another city, to which his father disagrees. Kunta then runs off into the jungle, where he meets up with his lover, Jinna. However, the two are then surrounded by the Koros, who are looking to hold Kunta for ransom. However, Kunta runs away, killing one of the Koros in the process. He is then subdued, and the Koros contemplate selling him to the English.
Kunta and Jinna are sold to the Lord Ligonier, a slave ship, with other Mandinkas, including Kunta’s uncle, Silla. While boarding the ship, Silla attempts to escape, but is shot in the arm and restrained. Kunta and Silla are then chained in the brig of the ship with hundreds of other captives. One day, Jinna tries to jump off the ship, but is caught and taken to the captain, possibly to be raped. This provokes the other captives, and to prevent a mutiny, the ship’s crew have Silla’s arm cut off, not only because of it being infected by the gunshot, but also to intimidate the other prisoners. Despite this, Kunta is still able to start an uprising, but it is suppressed, and the captives are transported across the Atlantic Ocean to Annapolis, Maryland, where he is sold to John Reynolds (James Purefoy), who owns a tobacco plantation in Virginia. Kunta is renamed Toby, and put under the care of a musician slave called Fiddler, whose real name is Henry (Forest Whitaker). Throughout the months, Kunta tries to adapt to life on the plantation, but still thinks about escape. One night, while singing a song from his homeland, Fiddler reveals that he once heard his grandmother singing the same song, implying that she was a Mandinka that was kidnapped from Africa. Kunta then is able to obtain a sharp object to cut the chains that restrain him.
With the aid of Fiddler, Kunta makes an escape attempt at Christmas, but is caught and flogged by the cruel overseer Connelly (Tony Curran) until he says his name is Toby, not Kunta Kinte. Kunta realizes that he will not be returning to his home in the Gambia. Fiddler tends to Kunta’s bloodied back and tells him to keep his true name inside, no matter what the white men call him.
ABOUT THE STUDY GUIDE CREATOR: Born in Georgia and currently residing in the East Bay, Linda Carter Pete’s formative years had her residing in Thailand, Iran, Okinawa, Belgium, and Germany as a military dependent for sixteen years before returning to Alexandria, Virginia to finish high school. Linda went on to attend Dominican College of San Rafael where she earned her BA in History, a single subject Teaching Credential, and an MS in Education: Curriculum & Instruction. Linda continued her graduate education at Stanford University where she earned her MA in Education: Administration and Policy Analysis as well as her Administrative Credential.
Linda began her teaching career as a substitute in the Oakland Unified School District and then worked in the San Francisco Unified School District. She taught in middle and high schools for seven years before becoming an administrator. She has spent the last twenty-one years supporting school communities in San Francisco and now works with Mt. Diablo Unified School District in Concord, California. Linda has also taught “Voice, Equity, Diversity and Social Justice” in the Teaching Credential Program at Chapman University at their Concord and Fairfield campuses, and Children’s Church for children (ages 5-11).
More about 2020 Gather as if @ Grand—Racism: Roots, Resolves, and Results here.