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AfriGeneas Genealogy and History Forum

Re: Oprah's Roots
In Response To: Re: Oprah's Roots ()

Richard, I agree with you and I hope that Oprah's example will inspire many. Although I don't regularly watch her show, I do view it on occasion when I'm still awake at 1 a.m., surfing for ancestors on the net...

I enjoyed the program because it took minute portions of Oprha's oral history and fleshed them out into larger historical themes. I liked the particular way in which the show progressed with each generation, and the manner in which they used images to fill in the gaps. What interested me most were the trips to her hometown, the cemetery, the freedom house and cotton field. The producers took us to real places and found people who could fill in parts of the story, just as we would do if we had the opportunity. They condensed the equivalent of years of research into an hour.

Although they used experts, some of the lessons were subliminal, like the photographs. They didn't have to tell anyone that it was possible to find photographs of one's ancestors; they just showed you Oprah's. And instead of discussing how much could be unearthed on African Americans in records, they showed images of those records and experts who analyzed them. For the uninitiated, I think they did a great job. For those of us who've been searching in the field and gathering evidence over the years, they showed us how to put everything together into a narrative.

Instead of resenting Oprah's good fortune at having someone research her genealogy, I appreciated it. I learned a few things about Mississippi and a few remarkable people who just happened to be related to Oprah.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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