Part 4Aired on Jun 02, 2016
After more than 20 years in England, Chicken George is given his freedom and he returns to the Lea farm. In his absence, his family was sold off to North Carolina, where he tracks them down. He is reunited with Matilda but finds his youngest boy, a master blacksmith, is now the leader of the family. A quiet, hardworking young man, Tom nurses a rage against his father, who he blames for abandoning the family. George meets up with a young, hot-headed slave, Cyrus, with whom he joins the Memphis Colored Battery; as the war ends, Chicken George and Cyrus barely escape with their lives. Inspired by a vision of Kunta Kinte, George’s son Tom rescues him and, once home, leads his family to embark on a new life. True to Kunta’s hope, the family finally finds freedom and keeps the family and its traditions intact. In 1976, Alex Haley, a seventh-generation descendant of Kunta Kinte, authors and publishes the Pulitzer Prize-winning Roots: The Saga of an American Family.
Part 3Aired on Jun 01, 2016
As George grows to manhood, he exhibits traits of both parents. Like Tom Lea, he loves cockfighting and carousing; an accomplished trainer of gamecocks, he earns the nickname “Chicken George.” He marries a preacher’s daughter, Matilda, and fathers many children, though he struggles to keep his father from his self-destructive ways. From Kizzy, George inherits strong traditions of family and a desire to be free. He convinces himself that one day he will buy freedom for himself and his family. But when Tom Lea loses a reckless wager with an Englishman, he sells his son to save his farm. Chicken George is taken to England.
Part 2Aired on May 31, 2016
In 1775, Kunta is working on the Waller farm when he meets English Redcoats encouraging slaves to run away and join the English army. The slaves are promised freedom if they fight for King George. During the battle Kunta realizes the English are little better than the Americans and takes off. He is apprehended by slave catchers and they amputate half his foot to make sure he never runs off again. John Waller’s younger brother William, a doctor, is outraged at the mutilation and buys Kunta. Kunta is healed by the ministrations of William Waller’s slave cook, Belle. After a lengthy, awkward courtship, Kunta marries Belle. Soon after, a daughter, Kizzy is born to the couple. As a teenager, Kizzy (Anika Noni Rose) forges papers that help a young slave escape. Her conspiracy is discovered; Kizzy is sold to a poor, white farmer, Tom Lea (Jonathan Rhys Meyers.)
Part 1Aired on May 30, 2016
In 1750 in the river region of The Gambia in West Africa, Omoro Kinte and his wife, Binta, have their first child, a son named Kunta. Kunta is trained in Mandinka customs and is a dedicated student who dreams of traveling to the university. After being kidnapped and captured by the Koros, Kunta is sold to British slave traders in 1767 and is shipped to America. In Annapolis, Maryland, he is sold to a Virginia planter named John Waller and is given the slave name Toby. Kunta strongly resists his new name and enslavement. He relies on the wise counsel of Fiddler, an assimilated slave and sophisticated musician who has been assigned to train him. Malachi Kirby, and Forest Whitaker star. (2016)