Watch the following clips from Roots:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_FglUXth-E (Life in Gambia)
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_A2o8ICcIQ (Breaking Kunta)
"Roots" (1977) (TV mini-series) from (imdb.com)
|Cast overview, first billed only:|
|Maya Angelou||....||Nyo Boto|
|Thalmus Rasulala||....||Omoro (Kunta's father)|
|Hari Rhodes||....||Brima Cesay (as Harry Rhodes)|
||LeVar Burton||....||Kunta Kinte/Toby Reynolds|
||Edward Asner||....||Capt. Thomas Davies|
|O.J. Simpson||....||Kadi Touray|
||Louis Gossett Jr.||....||Fiddler|
|Robert Reed||....||Dr. William Reynolds|
|Lorne Greene||....||John Reynolds|
||Lynda Day George||....||Mrs. Reynolds|
According to research done by Alex Haley, Kunta Kinte was an African from The Gambian town of Juffure. According to Haley family history he was sold into slavery in a town called "Annapolis."
Haley's research identified a slave ship, the Lord Ligonier, which sailed from Gambia River, July 5, 1767, with 140 captured Gambians. It arrived in Annapolis, Maryland on September 29, 1767, with only 98 survivors. Haley believed one of those survivors was a seventeen-year-old Kunta Kinte.
The Africans were sold into slavery on October 7, according to an advertisement in the Maryland Gazette newspaper.
Kinte would have been purchased at the ship or in one of the local inns or restaurants. He was then taken to a farm in Virginia where he continued his American heritage.
Kinte's arrival in Annapolis is symbolic of the slave trade era when millions of African men, woman and children were captured and sent to the New World. They endured the horrors of the "Middle Passage" — the Atlantic crossing in which Africans were packed into the holds of ships for months, many dying en route.
Kinte survived to tell his story — a story that was shared by his descendent Alex Haley in the book Roots.
It is the year of 1750 and a little boy is born to a family that lives in the small village Juffure at the African west coast. The father Omoro Kinte gives him the name Kunta and takes care of him. He wants to raise him strict but righteous. Therefore, Kunta lives an unburdened life which is characterized by the old traditions of his ancestors. He helps with the harvest and herds the sheep. He joins his father at a big journey and grows up to a young man. Juffurre is the name of Kunta Kinte's village.
The Kinte family is Muslim. Eight days pass before the father names the child in this Mandinka Tribe. The Kintango is the man who instructs the boys on how to become men. He is the teacher, the leader during this initiation process. When he is 15 years old, Kunta must wrestle to become a man. Also, he must be circumcised. The foreskin on his foto (penis) must be cut. Wrestler calls him a warthog because he charges without thinking. Another task he must fulfill is to catch a bird and return with it. While doing this, he meets Fanta from a neighbouring tribe. Kadi Touray is the father of Fanta. As the slavers try to catch blacks, the comment is made that whites smell like wet chickens.
Below decks, First Mate, Slater, is given permission to be in control of all that takes place below decks. He tells Captain Davies that women take up less space on the ship than the men. Captain Davies opts for the "loose pack" rather than the "tight pack" way of carrying slaves in the hold of the ship.
Kadi Touray is the father of Fanta. Juffurre is the name of Kunta Kinte's village.
At the age of 15 years (15 rains), Kunta is caught while looking for a log to make a drum. He is carried off to the coast by four slave hunters. After several days of torture and hunger, Kunta awakes on a big ship. He is cooped up in the cargo hold of the lower deck. Kunta who is put in chains starts an involuntary journey. White slave traders carry him away from his African homeland in order to sell him and the members of his tribe in the southern states of the United States of America. On board the ship "Lord Ligonier" he shows hatred for his white oppressors but at the same time his belief in Islam gives him the will and power to fight for his freedom and develop the inner strength to survive this terrible ordeal.
While on board, the slaves get sick. They soil themselves,
vomit, and sweat a
great deal in the heat of the windowless hold. The stench is unbearable. Some slaves did not want to eat,
and choose to starve themselves to death. As a result, they
were beaten and
forced to eat. Others threw themselves overboard. Many women were
raped. Kunta had a dream that a large white bird swallowed him and Wrestler
told him that it was symbolic of what whites were doing to Africans.
The Ship that carried Kunta to Annapolis, Virginia carried tobacco, hardware, spices, and slaves. Kunta had a sack put over his head when he was kidnapped while looking for a log to make a drum. Before the kidnapping, he was going through an initiation to prove himself a man.
The white sailors considered owning blacks the “natural order of things.” Mr. Slater, the first mate, said that the whites were saving the blacks with Christianity and saving them from cannibals. He said they had no proper language, just grunts and groans. One hundred and seventy slaves were on the ship with Kunta. The ship's captain is Davies and Mr. Gardner is the man who catches the blacks on the coast for the captain to place aboard the Lord Ligonier.
On the Reynolds' plantation there is an overseer named Mr. Ames. He was an indentured servant, that is, has a contract that states that he must work for a certain number of years in order to pay off a debt. He is responsible for "breaking in" the slaves. In the big house, (plantation owner’s house), the whites talk about how a thinking slave will become unhappy. For this and to prevent them from organizing a revolt, slaves are forbidden to read or write.
Master Reynolds patronizes Kunta by patting him on the head and telling him to be a “good nigger.” Fiddler says, when referring to how hard the slaves work: “White folks live by it, and niggers die by it.”
Written Document Analysis Worksheet
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WHAT AUDIENCE WAS THE DOCUMENT WRITTEN?
DOCUMENT INFORMATION (There are many possible ways to answer A-E.)
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List two things the document tells you about life in the United
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Write a question to the author that is left unanswered by the
developed by the
Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC 20408.
ACS11 Roots Video Quiz Name:
1. From where was Kunta Kinte?
2. Kunta Kinte was named after
A) 6 days
B) 8 days
C) 10 days
3. Kunta Kinte’s father’s name was
4. Kunta Kinte’s mother’s name was
5. Kunta Kinte’s religion was
6. Kunta Kinte went to Manhood Training when he was
A) 14 years old
B) 15 years old
C) 16 years old
7. In Manhood Training, one learns to be a
C) both of the above
8. Kunta Kinte first saw a White man when he was
A) looking for a log to make a drum
B) trying to capture a live bird
C) hunting for antelope
9. If a boy failed Manhood Training, he
A) would be treated like a child and could never marry
B) had to repeat the training for 12 months
C) was sent away from the village and could never return
10. Kunta Kinte was captured and enslaved when he was
A) alone and asleep in his hut
B) on his own searching for wood for a drum
C) herding goats
11. Kunta Kinte’s ethnic group was
12. Kunta Kinte was kidnapped in
13. The ship that brought Kunta Kinte to Annapolis was the
A) Lord Ligonier
B) Lord Legionaire
C) Le Amistad
14. Kunta Kinte was auctioned and sold to
A) John Reynolds
B) William Waller
C) Thomas Johnson
15. Kunta Kinte was given the English name
16. Kunta Kinte was trained as a slave by
17. Kunta Kinte never learns to speak English.
18. On the slave ship to Annapolis, the Africans
A) accepted their fate
B) tried to revolt
C) neither of the above
19. Early in Roots, we learn that most Whites think Blacks are
A) able to learn basic reading and writing
B) intelligent but must be made to think that they are not equal to Whites
C) of inferior intelligence and unable to be educated
20. Kunta Kinte was whipped because
A) he ran away from the plantation
B) he refused to accept his new name
C) both of the above
Broadsides (posters advertising slave sales)
To Be Sold
A likely NEGRO MAN
About twenty-two years old, has had the small
pox and measles. Any family intending to
settle in Nova Scotia, could not meet with one to an-
swer their purpose better, with a warranted title.
Enquire at No. 210, Queen Street
(This ad was 6.8cm by 2.9cm, as printed in the original newspaper.)