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In the final weeks of January, 1977, the ABC miniseries Roots became the most watched television program of all time. To the surprise of the show's producers, Roots was not only a ratings windfall, but a cultural phenomenon, articulating an African-American counter-narrative of American history, provoking a dialog about the legacy of slavery, and presenting African-American characters with a dignity and integrity that differed sharply from the caricatured representations common to television up to that time. In many ways, the response to the show by the media and the general public constitutes the first of many "conversations about race" that have punctuated the Post-Civil Rights era.
On October 6th of 2017, Goodwin College will host a special conference to mark the 40th anniversary of the original broadcast of Roots. Goodwin College houses a significant repository of Alex Haley’s writings, and it is committed to promoting dialog about social justice and opportunity for all.
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