Sunday, July 03, 2011

The Roots of Kunte Kinte

A number of years ago, we got the VHS Roots to watch. I remembered hearing about it when the book first came out back in 1976. I wasn't much of a reader then at all, but I remember "Roots" being a buzz word. When we first got the DVD, I kind of resigned myself to watch the first of six tapes. Probably twenty minutes into it hooked me for the next 573 minutes. I could hardly wait until the next evening to watch the next tape. Way before the end, Kunte Kinte had buried himself into my being. This whole story was not to be ignored.

Another few years went by and I found myself teaching middle school history where I still am today. Every time we get to the Triangular Trade chapter, images emerge from my mind of that captivating film. I've talked about it in class but have never taken the time to show clips of the film, though I plan to change that this year.

Fast forward several years, and I found, but have long-since forgotten how, that a website for the Kunte Kinte Memorial was in Annapolis, Maryland. I was fascinated by the simple, yet detailed and life-like, bronze statues. I wanted to see them in person but knew that was a slim chance. No one would trek five hours with me to Annapolis to see some bronze statues. The idea was rather silly. Until, that is, our daughter moved to Baltimore and worked in Annapolis.

We visited her over Memorial Day, and since our days were packed, little thought was given to visiting Annapolis. But, when I decided to go to the Society for Classical Learning conference a few weeks later in Baltimore, I wanted to make sure I visited the memorial. The area was super-crowded with people and maneuvering the car around was tedious, as was any leisure around the memorial. But I did get pictures that will stay with me.

The Kunte Kinte Memorial at the City Dock in Annapolis, MD was established here because this is where Kunte Kinte was brought on a slave ship to the City Dock at "Naplis," sold into slavery, and taken to a farm in (Spotsylvania County) Virginia. The life-size bronze statues of children from various minorities listen as the statue of Alex Haley tells his family's story.

Kunte Kinte is the main character in Alex Haley's book, Roots. Haley is the seventh generation of Kunte Kinte. The story begins in 1750 in Gambia, Africa and continues through seven generations until the 1970s. The film appears to portray an accurate picture of the plight of Africans captured to be transported and sold as slaves in the Triangular Trade.

[Because of the number of pictures, I chose to post them in a smaller size. Be sure to click on individual pictures to enlarge the view, especially the plaques. The inscriptions on these plaques are worth the time it takes to enlarge and read.]

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