Kunta KinteLiterary Hero / Slave
Born: c. 1750
Died: c. 1810
Birthplace: Gambia, West Africa
Best known as: Hero of Roots
Kunta Kinte is the central figure in Alex Haley
's 1976 book Roots.
According to Haley's research, Kunta Kinte was a real historical figure who was 17 when he was captured and taken to America as a slave aboard the ship Lord Ligonier
in 1767. Roots
traces the lives of Kinte and his descendants down to Haley himself, Kinte's great-great-great-great-grandson. The book was turned into an epic 12-hour TV miniseries in 1977, starring LeVar Burton
as young Kunta Kinte and John Amos as the older Kinte. The miniseries was a landmark hit: "For eight consecutive nights it riveted the country," reports the Museum of Broadcast Communications, adding that Roots
"scored higher ratings than any previous entertainment program in history." In a 2016 remake on The History Channel, Kunta Kinte was played by Malachi Kirby
A memorial to Alex Haley and Kunta Kinte stands in Annapolis, Maryland, at the dock where Kinte arrived.
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