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The Enduring ROOTS

January 25, 2017

Join us on Wednesday, February 1 at the African American Museum in Philadelphia to explore the enduring power of Roots. Forty years ago this month, ABC television aired Roots, Alex Haley’s groundbreaking series about slavery in the United States. In the spring of 2016, A&E and The History Channel collaborated to create a critically acclaimed new version of one this landmark television production. Free and open to the public, a screening of the first episode of the new Roots series will take place at 6PM, followed by a panel where we'll hear from Roots Executive Producer Mark Wolper (whose father, the legendary David Wolper produced the original), and Historical Consultant Dr. Daina Ramey Berry. Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor, Jonathan Capehart, will moderate the conversation. A reception will follow the panel. RSVP for The Roots at 40 here.  

Running for eight consecutive nights, neighborhoods quieted as the country stopped to watch and learn from the original telecast of Roots -- it’s estimated that one out of every two Americans saw at least part of it, spurring multitudes to explore their own genealogy and ancestry. "I remember the overwhelming power of the original and was overwhelmed again by the remake," stated Karen Curry, Director of Westphal's Rudman Institute. "This summer, as I was thinking about how to mark this upcoming anniversary, I heard Michelle Obama’s remarks at the Democratic National Convention here in Philadelphia, "I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters, two beautiful intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.” In 1977, it would have been unthinkable that a black family would be living in the White House, but yet the country is still roiled by issues of race. This is why this story still resonates and why it is still so important"

This evening is presented by The Kal and Lucille Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies, The African American Museum of Philadelphia, The Center for Cultural Partnerships and The History Channel.