Romare Bearden was a visual storyteller with a graphic sensibility, as seen in his 1977 cover illustration for TV Guide. Roots, the miniseries based on Alex Haley’s 1976 novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, was airing on television at the time. It told the story of a young man who was enslaved at the age of seventeen, and traced the experiences of his descendants across seven generations. Originally created as a collage, Bearden’s illustration features a Black man remembering a past that is symbolized by the African continent and a slave ship making the trans-Atlantic passage. Both Bearden and Haley were descendants of slaves.