Roots Has A Messed-Up Chronology

Discussion in 'All Other Discussions' started by Rippon, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    I have enjoyed reading Roots and watching the miniseries over the last several decades. I know that Alex Haley plagiarized from a book by Harold Courlander called The African. Haley had to pay $650,000 in a settlement. One day I'll buy courlander's book.

    But Haley was very careless in his fictional story. He didn't pay attention to the chronology of "his storyline."

    Here are some examples:

    P. 369 : Kizzy was born on 9/12/1790.
    P. 444 : "It was a week after Kizzy's sixteenth birthday, the early morning of the first Monday of October." How could that be? And the year would have to have been 1806.
    458 : Miss Malazy was nine years older than Kizzy which would have made the former 25 (b. in 1781).
    462 : Chicken George was born in the winter of 1806. But even late winter would have been a pregnancy of only 4 months and would have moved the year up to 1807. (She got imprgnated by Master Tom Lea -- her new owner.)
    468 : Sister Sara was with Masa Tom Lea for 14 years. Her first year would have 1792 when Tom Lea was only 14!
    528 : It's supposed to be 1824. Chicken George tells Masa Lea that except for his mother the rest of the slaves were over 50. Hoever, Miss Malizy and Sister Sara would have been only 43 and 44 respectively.
    528 : Masa Lea said he was about 15 years younger than Uncle Mingo. So, the former would have been born in 1778.
     
  2. Rippon

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    Continuing...

    p.572 : Tom Lea is 63 in 1841
    p.573 : Kizzy turns 50 in 1840
    579 : Ashford is 18 in 1848
    579 : Little Kizzy and Mary are 10 and 8 respectively in 1849
    581 : Tom is 16 in 1847
    590 : It's November of 1855
    592 : Tom is 22 in 1853
    594 : Tom Lea is 78 in 1856
    607 : Lewis is 19 in 1856
    609 : The year is 1855
    609 : Tom is 22. But that would would have been in 1853.
    610 : Virgil is 26 in 1854
    610 : Ashford is 25. But he is supposed to be two years younger than Virgil.
    611 : It's Christmas 1856.
    613 : Tom is going on 23 in 1854.
    621 : It's 1858.
    630 : Tom is 24 in 1855.
    637 : It's autumn of 1859. Uriah is 4.
    643 : Miss Malizy is 80 in 1861.
    646 : Tom Lea is 83 in 1861.
    655 : It's 1861. But the book says that Uriah is still 4. He should be 6.
    657 : It's 1858. Tom is 27.
    660 : It's November of 1860.
    664 : It's April 12,1861.
    668 : It's spring of 1862.
    676 : It's spring of 1862.
    682 : It's April of 1865. Uriah's only 8. He should be 10 that year.

    You'd think that even in a work of fiction that an author would try and keep the dates in some sense of logical order.
     
  3. drfuss

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    A misrepresentation in the roots movie was how the slaves were obtained in Africa. His specific ancestors could have been free and were captured as in the movie, but that would have been only an isolated case. In general, those slaves brought to America were already slaves and bought from their owners by the English merchants. Slavery had been a part of the economic system in Africa for thousands of years.

    The English wanted to trade with the Africans, but the Aftican rulers had nothing of value to trade except their slaves. The English merchants then brought them to the Southern States where labor was in short supply. The same ships then took Cotton back to New England or to England, and then the trading cycle started again.
     
  4. Johnv

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    Although Roots (the book) is a fictionalization of real people and events (Haley did not claim it to be a documentarian biography), it's an excellent read. I've read it several times. It's most definitely worth readng.
     

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