Based on the 1976 book, “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” by Alex Haley, "Roots" the television series won 9 of the 37 Emmy awards it was nominated for, as well as a Golden Globe and a Peabody. How well do you know the story of "Roots"? Take our quiz and find out!
What is the story of "Roots" about, in general?
How to garden
"Roots" is a story of slavery as told by the author, Alex Haley. He traced the story of his ancestors in Gambia, who were brought to America as slaves.
Kunta was born to a Mandinka warrior in Gambia, West Africa, but was captured as a young boy while looking for wood to make a drum for his brother. He endured many hardships. He tried to keep the name that was given to him at birth and not adopt his slave name, Toby.
Kunta Kinte was brought to America on a ship captained by what actor, probably known better for his role as a newsman?
Edward Asner portrayed the captain of the slave ship, Captain Thomas Davies. Asner is probably better known for his role as Lou Grant on the television show of the same name and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
When Kunta Kinte arrived in the United States, he was sold to a plantation owner in Virginia who assigned an older slave to show him how to speak English and perform his duties as a slave. What was this older slave’s name?
Fiddler, played by Louis Gosset Jr., was an older slave that was assigned to teach Kunta Kinte to speak English and perform his duties as a chattel slave, after Kunta was sold to a plantation owner in Virginia
In 1776, when Kunta was given to a new slave owner as payment for a debt, he promptly tried to escape. What was the result of this attempt?
He went to England
He was captured and had half of his foot cut off
Kunta was captured, then, in an attempt to prevent further escape attempts, the slave catchers cut off half of his foot. He soon met his future wife, who was the cook for his new owner. She cared for his wounded foot and wounded spirit.
What was the name of the cook who Kunta later married?
Madge Sinclair is the actress who portrayed Bell. Bell was the cook for the family that owned both her and Kunta. The two later married and had a daughter, who became an important part of their legacy.
What did Kizzy do with her secret skill, reading and writing, that caused a big problem for all involved?
She forged checks
She did Missy Anne's homework
She wrote a book
She forged travel papers for a slave she loved
Kizzy forged travel papers for a slave she loved and he tried to escape. Upon his capture, he was beaten until he revealed where he got the travel pass. This caused Kizzy’s owner to sell both her and the slave that tried to escape. Missy Anne was strongly reprimanded for her actions.
What did Kizzy do when she visited her father Kunta’s grave site?
She cried uncontrollably
She tried to run away
She altered the name on his grave marker
Kizzy used a small stone to scratch out the name Toby and write Kunta Kinte, his noble given name from his African tribe, on her father’s grave marker. This was the first and only time she visited his grave.
What event caused Tom Moore to threaten George at gunpoint?
He caught George trying to escape
He caught George reading
The Nat Turner Rebellion
The Nat Turner Rebellion was an event where a slave named Nat Turner led an uprising that led to the deaths of over 50 whites and over 100 blacks. 55 of the rebels were tried and executed, including Nat Turner, when he was found after hiding for six weeks.
Due to his skills as a chicken trainer, what nickname did George “earn”?
George the Chicken Trainer
George came to be called Chicken George because of his remarkable skills at training fighting chickens. He was considered the “cock of the walk” due to this skill and his cocky way of strutting around.
What happened that caused George to go to England to train fighting chickens?
Tom Moore lost a bet with a Brit
Tom Moore made a large bet on a fight with a British fighting chicken owner named Sir Eric Russell. He couldn’t pay, so he sent George to train chickens and other chicken trainers as a partial payment for the debt.
When George was set free, he learned that if he stayed in North Carolina for 60 days he would lose his freedom. Because of this, he headed North to try to work as a cockfighting trainer and await the end of the Civil War, so that his sons could be freed.
What happened to George’s son, Tom, that jeopardized his and his family’s safety?
He drowned a man in a fight
Tom got in a fight with a man that tried to rape his wife and subsequently drowned him in a blacksmith's quench trough. This made him a target of a group of hooded men who began to harass Tom and other members of his family.
A crooked politician named Senator Arthur Justin, played by Burl Ives, tricked Harvey out of the land and then imposed heavy debt on Harvey’s former slaves, who had stayed on to sharecrop. This basically made them the Senator's slaves.
Because it was the story of HIS family heritage, his roots
Alex Haley wrote "Roots" because it was the story of his family. He traced his family roots back to Kunta Kinte, the original slave that was kidnapped and brought to America from Africa. Controversy later brewed over plagiarism and some artistic license taken by Haley, but all in all "Roots" sheds light on a dark period in history.