“Queen” is Alex Haley’s second book after the very famous “Roots” in which he had traced his ancestry back to Africa. In “Queen”, he has written the story of his grandmother who was an illegitimate and un-acknowledged daughter of James Jass Jackson III and his slave Easter. This story is not as engaging as “Roots” was, but it really brings out the culture of that time when slavery was prevalent in America and many children were born out of relationships between black slaves and their white masters.
The love story between queen’s parents is very beautifully captured by the author. It again brings out the fact that love can blossom in any situation and does not see any boundaries. This was not a forced relationship of white master and slave girl that was the norm in those days. In this case, James truly loved and cared about Easter. At the same time, James was also bounded by social norm of that time and could not acknowledge the relationship or the child. The story though shows that James tried to help Queen as much as he could.
The story also talks about Queen’s anguish as a slave girl. She was not accepted by her father and also was teased by other slave children because she had mixed heritage and skin color. We in today’s age cannot even imagine what kind of difficulties that generation must have faced not only when they were living as slaves but later after civil war when slavery was abolished but racism was still very prevalent for many years.
The book was finished after Haley’s death by David Stevens. I have read somewhere that there is a TV series based on this book but I have not seen it.