Roots follows several generations in the lives of a slave family. The story begins with Kunta Kinte (played by LeVar Burton), a West African youth captured by slave traders and shipped to America in the 1700s. Torn from his homeland, stripped of his dignity, his rights and even his name, in torment and anguish he is brought to the slave markets of the new world. He tries, but fails, to escape before accepting he can never return to Africa. The film traces his life and those of his family, depicted up until the Civil War where Kunte Kinte's grandson gains emancipation. It captures generations of love, tears, pain, strife, sacrifice and happiness, reminding us of the resilience and resource of the human spirit even under crippling injustice. But Roots was more than just a quality drama, it had a wider impact on society. It persuaded American audiences to regard their history from a black perspective, and to see how--against odds far more desperate than those the pilgrims faced--Africans laid claim to their status as free African-Americans. It triggered a craze for genealogy and changed forever the way black people were depicted on TV.