I remember aligning the severity of the chastising with the character Kunta Kinte in the TV series Roots at the time. I wriggled from her grip and screamed whilst she lashed me with a curtain wire and dared me to call the police, pushing the handset to my ear and urging me to dial 999.

Stephanie Johnson

Roots is a TV mini-series in the USA based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. It was a hit series in the eighties, particularly with the underdogs in black communities where they drew solace from the characters’ suffering.

My protagonist and narrator, Stephanie Johnson, refers to Roots throughout Chapter Two (Mr. Williams) when describing the severity of the beatings she had undergone, and when in casual conversations with friends at school about their identity.

In these communities throughout the eighties and nineties where knowledge of black history was scarce, TV series such as this really helped to fill in the gap. It provided a basic understanding of how power and wealth came to be so heavily distributed against blacks in favour of whites.

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