Iowa authorities (hopefully not the same ones who count caucus votes) have arrested a black man, who may be Black History Month’s most ardent advocate, for an alleged plot that involved kidnapping, black cinema and an impromptu crash course in racism.
The Gazette reports that police in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, arrested 52-year-old Robert Lee Noye, affectionately known as “the black guy in town,” after Noye reportedly forced a woman to sit with him and watch the miniseries Roots (no relation to this outlet).
While police did not specify if Noye made the woman watch the 1977 original series or the 2016 remake, the criminal complaint does note that Noye’s motive was to make his victim “better understand her racism.” But instead of threatening to give the woman a bad grade, Noye allegedly told his African-American history student to “remain seated and watch the movie with him or he would kill her and spread her body parts across Interstate 380 on the way to Chicago.”
Many historians, (including Henry Louis Gates Jr., co-founder of this site) doubt the historical accuracy of Alex Haley’s epic novel that spawned the award-winning, nine-hour miniseries. Roots (no relation to Questlove) is still hailed as the seminal story of the black experience in America.
Noye is charged with first-degree harassment and false imprisonment.
While police will not say whether Noye’s plan worked, when contacted by The Root the ghost of
Toby Kunta Kinte would only offer one comment:
“Not like this.”