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Part IV (1918-1921) 

With 8 soldiers hanged for staging a mutiny in the 24th Infantry, Bertha is worried about Simon. Criticizing the army during wartime isn't necessarily a safe practice however. Will Palmer ... See full summary »


Charles S. Dubin


Sydney A. Glass (teleplay), Alex Haley (book) | 2 more credits »


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Irene Cara ... Bertha Palmer Haley
Bernie Casey ... Bubba Haywood
Ruby Dee ... Queen Haley
Pam Grier ... Francey
Roosevelt Grier ... Big Slew Johnson (as Rosey Grier)
Dorian Harewood ... Simon Haley
Paul Koslo ... Earl Crowther
Gerald S. O'Loughlin ... Captain Bowker
Percy Rodrigues ... Boyd Moffatt
John Rubinstein ... Lieutenant Hamilton Ten Eyck
Stan Shaw ... Will Palmer
Marc Singer ... Andy Warner
Charles Weldon ... Doxey Walker
Bever-Leigh Banfield ... Cynthia Palmer
Diana Douglas ... Mrs. Andy Warner


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With 8 soldiers hanged for staging a mutiny in the 24th Infantry, Bertha is worried about Simon. Criticizing the army during wartime isn't necessarily a safe practice however. Will Palmer finds that the local draft board isn't applying the rules fairly to blacks. The army is commanded by white officers only and black men get little respect. One of Simon's fellow black soldier, Heywood, is badly beaten by a State Trooper and some in the platoon want to take revenge, but its Heywood who talks sense into them. They're soon sent overseas and in France face the Germans in combat but failure to provide covering artillery fire leads to death as they attempt to take out a machine-gun nest. While in the trenches, Simon learns that his father died on the operating table. He is also wounded in a gas attack and in hospital meets a Senegalese soldier. They celebrate Armistice day and make plans for the future, Simon believes that it will be different for blacks at home now that they've fought for ... Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


This episode takes place from May 3, 1918 to November 9, 1921. See more »


When Haley's patrol encounters a German machine nest, the Germans are firing a WWII era MG42, an air cooled machine gun. Machine guns of this era for the most part were liquid cooled. See more »


References Roots: Part IV (1977) See more »

User Reviews

Dorian Harewood as Simon Haley fights more than one war
15 January 2017 | by kevinolzakSee all my reviews

Chapter four finds Simon Haley (Dorian Harewood) a willing volunteer in Uncle Sam's army, though black soldiers don't receive the same kind of reverence as the white boys. Back in Henning, Bertha Palmer (Irene Cara) patiently waits for her man to come home, while her father Will (Stan Shaw) tries in vain to exempt farmer and three time father Luke Bettiger (Charles Robinson) from the unforgiving draft board, who are only interested in meeting their quota for the county. Doxey Walker (Charles Weldon) wonders if it's worth it seeing one of his fellow soldiers beaten by racist cops: "what we got against them Germans, seems like we fighting the wrong white men!" France is no cakewalk either, but Lt. Ten Van Eyck (John Rubinstein) is duly impressed by the resilience shown by his troops under duress, hopelessly undermanned but still able to save his life. Simon's long awaited homecoming means wedding bells for he and Bertha, who will be leaving for Cornell University in New York, where Simon will study for his degree in agriculture. Some 14 months pass before an impatient Will Palmer is surprised by his visiting son-in-law, presenting the newest addition to the family to greet the waiting moon by November 1921 - Alexander Murray Palmer Haley, future author of the acclaimed ROOTS.

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Release Date:

21 February 1979 (USA) See more »

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