Family Reunion Forum
Pride builds when families hold reunions
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 17 Jul 2005
Alex Haley's book — which chronicled generations of descendants of a slave named Kunta Kinte — was made into an enormously popular TV miniseries. After it aired, American families, black, white and brown, started to show a keener interest in distant cousins and long-dead ancestors.
Before the "Roots" phenomenon, extended families had tended to come together only for weddings and funerals — with funerals the larger draw. But Haley helped to make an institution of the reunion of extended family. It's now a lively summer ritual, with its own customs and rhythms, serviced by a business sector of budget hotels, tour buses and caterers. . . . Black Americans are especially drawn to those family gatherings because the official record has neglected to tell so much of our story.