KUNTA KINTE Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


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Name: Kunta Kinte                                                                   
Kunta Kinte (a.k.a Toby) is the central character of the novel, Roots: The Saga     
of an American Family by Alex Haley, and of the television mini-series Roots,       
based on the book. Roots is referred to by Haley as faction - a mixture of both     
fact and fiction, and much of the book's material is borrowed from a book           
called The African by Harold Courlander. Kunta Kinte was a Mandinka. Kunta was     
captured and brought as a slave to Annapolis, Maryland, and later sold to a         
plantation owner in Spotsylvania County, Virginia near the present-day rural       
community of Partlow.                                                               
In the miniseries, the young character was portrayed by LeVar Burton, and the       
older by John Amos.                                                                 
There is a memorial to Kunta Kinte in Annapolis, Maryland. It is one of few         
monuments in the world to bear the name of an actual enslaved African; other       
examples include statues in Brazil of Zumbi from Palmares Quilombo (a black         
leader of rebellions against slavery) and the statue of Bussa in Barbados. In a     
set of four life size bronze statues, the Kunta Kinte memorial depicts Alex         
Haley, book on his lap, telling his family's story to children of three             
different ethnicities. Granite decorations and bronze plaques accompany the         
statue group.                                                                       
In a notorious incident, the original memorial, a bronze plaque, was stolen         
within forty-eight hours after its installation in 1981. A card was left in its     
place which read "You have been patronized by the Ku Klux Klan." The plaque was     
never recovered and was replaced within two months with funds from local           
residents. The second plaque was stolen as well.