Director: Marvin J. Chomsky.
Starring: Edward Asner (Captain of the slave ship), LeVar Burton (Kunta Kinte/Toby), Lloyd Bridges (Evan Brent, night rider), Chuck Connors (Tom Moore, white father of Chicken George), Sandy Duncan (Missy Anne, Kizzy's best friend for awhile), Lynda Day George (Mrs. Reynolds, mother of Missy Anne), Louis Gossett (Fiddler, friend to Kunta Kinte), Lorne Greene (Master John Reynolds), Burl Ives (Senator Justin, thieving land baron), O. J. Simpson (a warrior father), Cicely Tyson, (mother of Kunta Kinte), Ben Vereen (Chicken George).
Mini-series based on the work of black writer Alex Haley dealing with his own roots, but reflecting the history of blacks in the United States.
Won 9 Emmys.
Scene 1. Introduction.
This is a true story of Alex Haley's twelve year search across seven generations of his family to tell his family's history. The film spans more than a hundred years of history.
Scene 2. Credits.
Scene 3. A Very Strong Son.
In Africa a woman named Binda is giving birth to a young son. Outside the hut the father, named Omor, paces back and forth.
Gambia, West Africa, 1750. The baby boy is born. Binda says to her husband: "We have a very strong son."
Scene 4. Kunta Kinte.
Dad thinks about a name for his son. At night he holds his son up to the sky and shouts: "Kunta Kinte. Behold the only thing greater than yourself."
Scene 5. Partnerships.
Annapolis, Maryland, 1765. (15 years later.) Captain Davies is seeking employment. He tells his prospective employer, a Mr. Vilars, that he was at the helm of the Mary Rose for three years. Vilars asks him why he left the position. Davies tells him that the vessel was sold to another owner and the man refused to honor his contract. Vilars explains that his ship will be the Lord Ligonier. It will be taking tobacco to England. There he will pick up hardware from England and sail to Gambia. In Gambia he will pick up spices and slaves.
Scene 6. Much to Learn.
Kunta Kinte asks his friend about their upcoming manhood training. While he talks, he takes his eyes off his flock of goats. A leopard approaches the goats. Kunta Kinte is busy asking about the rite of circumcision. The leopard kills the very valuable pregnant she-goat. Kunta Kinte can only drive the leopard away. He used his slingshot to toss rocks. After the second rock hits the leopard, the big cat abandons its kill.
Kunta Kinte has to face the music. He has skinned the she-goat and so at least has the wool. The young man tells his father, who is not happy about it. But after a few moments of frowns, he tells his son that something similar happened to him when he was young. Omor then says that his son: "There is much you have to learn, Kunta." And one of the lessons is never run toward any dangerous animal.
Scene 7. The Christian Thing.
In Annapolis the ship is being loaded with supplies. They will carry 250 pairs of wrists shackles and the same number of neck rings. Mr. Slater will be Capt. Davies right hand man. He has quite a lot of experience working on slave ships. He tells the Captain that they have two dozen thumb screws and two branding irons with double "L"s, which stands for the Lord Ligonier. They set sail on the Sabbath which the Captain says is the Christian thing to do.
Scene 8. Manhood Training.
Dad places a hood over Kunta's head and marches him off to join the other sons. The group is brought to a clearing in the woods. The hoods are removed from their heads. The young men sit in a circle around one of their trainers. He explains that his name is Kintango. Here they will teach the young men of the Juffure Village how to be a warrior of the Mandinka.
Scene 9. Doing Their Jobs.
The Captain inspects the slave holding area. Mr. Slater comes down to tell him that there will be a mixture of women and men, with more men than women. With loose packing they will carry 170 slaves more or less. Slater tells the Captain he has had eighteen voyages on slavers. The Captain then asks Slater what the blacks are like? Slater gives him the prejudice view of the day that they are suited to be slaves. It is the natural order of thins and it's better for them because they will become Christians. Moreover, he says, it saves them from being eaten. He says: "Cannibals, all of them!"
Scene 10. Types of Courage.
Kintango will be their wrestling coach. He asks for the first man to come against him. No one volunteers, so Kunta gets up to face the man. he sits back down, but then gets back up. He charges the wrestler and gets thrown down. But Kunta keeps trying and keeps getting thrown. He's a very determined young man. After the training, Kintango explains to him that he acted like the wart hog who always charges the warriors and gets eaten for his efforts.
Scene 11. Fanta and Kadi Touray.
Kunta is given the task of catching a bird without killing it. He chases a bird that is shaped like a chicken. He leaps to catch the bird and lands on a young woman about his age. He just gets up and dusts himself off and goes running off without apologizing. The young woman is shocked and upset and she yells for her father. Her father is a big, athletic looking man. He chases after the running fellow and catches up with him. He puts him in a headlock to bring him back to apologize to his daughter. Kunta protests that he is a Mandinka, but the man only says then he definitely should apologize to his daughter. The two return to the young woman, named Fanta. Kunta apologizes for his behavior. When that is over, he says: "Peace to you, Fanta" and leaves.
Scene 12. Hunters and Their Catchers.
Kunta sets a trap and catches his bird alive. Just at this time he hears voices. He sees slavers with slaves with their heads roped to the main rope moving through the woods. Kunta hides from them. His bird gets away from him.
Scene 13. Bargain on the Beach.
When the slavers have gone, Kunta races back to the training area and breathlessly blurts out: "I saw white men!" Everyone is concerned and a bit apprehensive.
Captain Davies comes ashore with Slater. They meet a Mr. Gardener. Davies says they will take 170 slaves. Gardener says he will capture some more and buy some to get the full 170.
Scene 14. Celebrating the New Man.
The young men now have to go through the rite of circumcision. They ask who will be first, but this time Kunta decides not to be first.
The young men are brought back to the village. A huge ceremony is held complete with dancing. The fathers give the symbols of manhood to their sons.
Scene 15. Binta's Goodbye.
Kunta comes home to his hut. Mom is there and she says she has all his things already packed for him. She says that father has already built him a hut where he will live, get a wife and raise children. Binta now gives him a big hug goodbye.
Scene 16. Nyo Bato's Suggestion.
Kunta moves out of his old hut to his new hut. He is very happy about owning his own home. Grandmother comes to him and scolds him. She wants him to make his baby brother a gift. Kunta thinks awhile and then says he will make a drum for him.
Scene 17. Captured.
Kunta is out looking for a suitable piece of wood from which to make a drum. While he is preoccupied by this, a white man with his black assistants sneak up on him. One of the blacks grabs him, but Kunta gets away from him and runs as fast as he can away from them. It looks like he is going to escape when he runs into two other black men coming from the other way. The four men surround him, throw a net over him and take him captive. In the struggle his symbol of manhood comes off his neck and falls to the ground. They place him in wrist chains.
Scene 18. A Matter of Philosophy.
The slavers bring Kunta and the other sto the coast. They keep hitting Kunta because he is the most restless of the group of captives. They put him and the other captives in a cage made of wooden poles tied together.
Slater and Captain Davies talk about "loose-pack" versus "tight-pack." If they pack tight, they can get perhaps as many as 200 slaves in the hold. Of course, they lose more, but they also arrive with more slaves. He says it's all a matter of philosophy. Davies says he only wants 170 slaves.
Scene 19. Fellow Captives.
In the cage with Kunta is none other than his wrestling coach, Kintango.
Kunta's father and men from the village look for his son. They use their tracking skills. When dad finds Kunta's symbol of manhood on the ground, he suddenly realizes that the slavers got him and he yells out in anguish.
Kunta sees another captive he knows: the girl Fanta who he ran over while chasing the bird during manhood training.
Scene 20. Outside Her Embrace.
Dad returns to Binta and tells her she still has two sons, but one is forever outside her embrace. Binta cries and cries.
Scene 21. The Ship's Hold.
The ship is sailing along nicely in good weather. In the hold it is hot. People are crying. Kintango talks with Kunta Kinte. He says he has seen men from many other tribes, such as the Wolof, the Fulani and the Serere.
Mr. Slater tells his men to get the slaves up on deck and get them dancing for some exercise. The women are also to be brought up on deck. Slater tells the Captain that he will be wanting one of women at least for a "belly warmer". Davies says no to the idea..
Scene 22. Taken on Deck.
Kunta prays to Allah. The chains hold the slaves to their platform. The chains are released and the slaves pulled off the platforms by the crew. Some of them land hard on the floor. Kunta tells Kintango that he is going to jump off the ship and swim to the river bank. But when Kunta gets up on deck he is shocked. This is not a river at all, but an ocean.
The Captains tells Slater to get these people clean. The crew uses ocean water to throw onto the slaves and the salt in the water makes them scream in pain because many have open wounds.
Scene 23. Exercise.
The crew forces the slaves to dance by flogging their legs. The women are brought up. The Captain tells Slater that he has not slept well since the start of the voyage. Slater again mentions the need for a "belly warmer". The Captain returns to his cabin and takes his cap and wig off.
Scene 24. Removing the Dead.
The slaves are fed. It's pretty terrible stuff and Kunta doesn't want to eat it. Kintango tells him to eat the white man's food for he will need his strength to kill the white man. The man next to Kunta on the platform dies and Kunta freaks out. The crew comes down, drags the dead body away and throws it overboard.
Scene 25. The Captain's Companion.
The Captain writes his wife Elizabeth a letter. He writes: "If only you could know how much I regret having taken this command." Slater comes in with a very frightened African woman. The Captain says he does not approve of fornication, but Slater says he only brought her as a belly warmer, that's all. Slater leaves alone. The Captain tells the woman that his name is Thomas, but realizes she doesn't understand a thing he says.
Scene 26. One Village.
Kintango tells Kunta that they will kill the white man and go home. He says that 100 black men can take the crew out, but they must develop a plan. He says: We will be the village. We will learn the language of the man next to us. He stresses: "We will live!"
Scene 27. Credits.
Scene 1. Credits.
Scene 2. Slater's Tricks.
Slater listens to some of the slave conversation in the hold. He tells Captain Davies that there's a danger of an uprising. The Captain says he just can't believe that. He tells Slater to increase the guard on the slaves. Slater tells him that one advantage the whites have over the heathens is that they know all the tricks of the slave trade.
Scene 3. Maiden No Longer.
The slaves are on deck. They see around the neck of a young seaman a key that unlocks the locks of the chains of the slaves. A couple of women slaves try to escape from the white men. One starts climbing up the rigging. Slater shouts to the men to bring that girl down. But before they can get to her, she jumps into the ocean. Slater shouts to the man who was chasing her, why was she not tied up? He starts hitting the man in the face over and over again.
Kunta sees Fanta crying and goes over to give her some encouragement. He says that a Mandinka maiden must have courage. Fanta tells him that she is no longer a Mandinka maiden.
Scene 4. Revolt.
Slater continues beating the sailor. Kunta shouts something and then grabs the young sailor with the key. He throws him amidst the slaves and they take him down, get the key and start releasing themselves from their chains. One slave is shot with a pistol. Slater shouts: "Don't damage the cargo! Drive them below!" Kintango throws one sailor overboard. Quite a few other sailors are killed by the slaves. More slaves are shot with pistols. Kintango starts to go after Slater, but Slater waits for him so he can kill him with his pistol. But Kunta intervenes by throwing a knife into Slater's chest. Slater goes down and then expires. The slave revolt is suddenly finished when a very young sailor climbs up to the small cannon, probably filled with some time of grapeshot ,and lights the fuse. All the slaves go down in a heap. Many groan in pain.
Kintango is one of the dead. Kunta survives. The surviving slaves are placed back on the platforms. Many are still in considerable pain. Kunta prays to Allah that Kintango be allowed to go to heaven and see the prophet Mohammed.
Scene 5. Not Interested.
Annapolis, Maryland, September 29, 1767. The slave ship drops anchor. A Mr. John Carrington comes aboard. He is very disgusted at the smell of the ship and holds a handkerchief over his nose. Captain Davies says he was supposed to meet a Mr. Andrews. Carrington tells him that he is the factor for Horace Andrews and Company. So Davies will deal with Carrington. He tells Carrington he lost ten seamen and a ship's boy. They started out with 140 slaves and arrived with 98 alive. Carrington says that's good. That is less than 1/3 dead. He says he knows of some ships that lost as much as half their slaves and still made a profit.
Carrington wants Davies to go back out for more slaves. That's not what Davies wanted to hear. He hates being involved with the slave trade. Davies asks Carrington if he ever thinks that maybe the white men do themselves harm by engaging in the slave trade? Carrington thinks that a silly question when there is so much money is to be made in slavery. He tells Davies to come to the slave auction with him. Davies says no, that he is just not interested in the least in seeing the slaves being sold.
Scene 6. Business is Business.
A doctor looks over the crop of slaves. He checks out Kunta and finds a carbuncle. They put tar on the carbuncle to hide it. It is very painful for Kunta since the tar is very hot..
Mr. Carrington wants to put an advertisement in the newspaper about the slave auction.
Scene 7. "We will beat them."
The slaves are placed in the equivalent of jail cells. Some of the women are crying. Kunta sees Fanta again and he talks with her. She wonders if the moon here is the same moon as it is in their village? Kunta says he doesn't think so. Everything about this new place is different, so why wouldn't the moon be different also? He tries to encourage her by talking about resisting the white man. He says: "We will beat them, you'll see." Fanta says that's what a warrior is supposed to say, but she has learned another lesson: to stay alive.
Scene 8. Fanta is Sold.
At the slave auction a white and a black man working of Mr. Reynolds look over the crop of slaves for sale. The black man is named Fiddler and he tells the white man that the "cargo" doesn't look too good. He keeps shaking his head no. A boy beats the drum to announce that the auction is about to take place. The women will be sold first. The women scream when Fanta is forcibly taken from her holding cell. The buyers comes up on the sales platform to check her out. Slave owner Sir Robert Calvert of Virginia buys Fanta for 115 English pounds. Kunta says to himself: "We will see each other again, Fanta!"
Scene 9. Kunta is Sold.
Now it's the men's turn to be sold. Kunta is the first to be brought out. Some of the men says that Kunta is not even close to being broken. He looks like a wild man. He is sold to John Reynolds of Spotsylvania County, Virginia
Scene 10. A New Name.
Fiddler tells Kunta that the master has given him a new name, Toby. He is not Kunta anymore, but Toby. Master Reynolds sees the covered up carbuncle on Toby's back and he demands that it be lanced before he takes Toby with him to Virginia. But when Kunta sees the doctor approaching him with a shiny scalpel, he freaks out and starts running away. It takes a lot of men to finally corral him and catch him.
Scene 11. Taking Care of Property.
Fiddler and Master Reynolds are heading home with Toby. Fiddler is trying to put a new shoe on the horse pulling the wagon. Master Reynolds rests under a tree as Fiddler struggles with the non-cooperative horse. The Master then notices that Toby is eye-balling a hammer on the ground. He warns Fiddler to watch out for his tools. This takes Fiddler back and he wants to know what Toby is thinking abou?. Was he thinking of using the hammer on him? Master Reynolds gives Toby to Fiddler to get into shape. He gives Fiddler six months to get Toby in line and speaking the King's English. Fiddler is not at all happy about having to teach the wild man.
Scene 12. Fiddler Talks Tough.
Fiddler tells Toby that he doesn't know a thing about anything about what he is to do in this new world. He starts teaching him English by telling Toby the English name for wagon. He then starts to teach him his new name. But Toby insists that he is not Toby but Kunta Kinte. Fiddler gets exasperated with him. He tells him: "You Africans are all alike! Crazy!" His advice to Toby/Kunta is: "You better learn!"
Scene 13. The Reynolds' Farm.
Master Reynolds, Fiddler and Toby arrive at the plantation. Reynolds and Fiddler are greeted by their respective families. Fiddler shows the "wild man" to the children and tells them they better watch themselves around him.
Scene 14. In Charge.
Mr. Ames is the overseer and a tough one at that. He welcomes Reynolds home. The Master tells him that Fiddler will be in charge of that nigger until he says otherwise.
Scene 15. Two Visitors.
Fiddler tries to feed Toby some grits and pork, but being a Muslim, Kunta won't eat it. He does, however, eat the grits. Ames comes around to tell Toby that Master Reynolds owns him, Fiddler teaches him, but "sooner or later nigger, you're mine!"
Scene 16. "Do not forget me!"
In his shed, Kunta catches a cricket. He says he will escape from the plantation. Kunta puts the cricket outside through a window telling him to go tell his family and friends that he is still alive and that they should not forget him.
Ames tells Reynolds that slaves aren't born; they are made. Mrs. Reynolds asks her husband if blacks are inferior to whites, why should the whites be afraid to teach them how to read? Her brother-in-law, a doctor, says that a bit of education will only make the blacks unhappy. Ames complains that Toby has been here for four months and he is still in chains. And he still won't answer to the name Toby.
Scene 18. No Place to Run.
Kunta sees Fiddler's daughter Auralia and he thinks that she is Fanta. She looks at Kunta and her father tells her not to. He takes Kunta over to the vegetable garden. In the shed later Kunta asks Fiddler: "You and me run, maybe?" This upsets Fiddler and he tries to set him straight by telling him: "There's no place to run to."
Scene 19. Doing His Best.
Working in the fields Kunta trips and falls down. He sees a big piece of a broken axe head partially buried in the dirt. Ames sees Toby just laying there and he tells him to get up. But Kunta isn't going to get up until he has hidden the axe piece in his clothes. Fiddler tells Ames that he will get him up. He tells Toby to get up and Toby does so. Then he surprises everyone by going over to Ames and telling him: "Mr. Ames, I'm doing my best, sir!"
Scene 20. Reynolds' Guest.
It's quitting time for the slaves. Fiddler's daughter speaks with Kunta. She tells him: "I saw. I ain't told nobody yet. But I saw." Ames comes over to Fiddler and tells him to get his fiddle. The Master has a guest and he has to entertain him. Kunta sees the guest and recognizes him. It's Sir Robert Calvert, the owner of Fanta. He is excited to know that Fanta is not far away.
Scene 21. Ames' Companion.
Fiddler's wife brings their daughter over to Mr. Ames. Auralia is very nervous and scared. Ames tells her to get inside! Kunta sees this happen, but is not sure what is going on. In his shed, Toby starts using the axe head to saw his chains off.
Scene 22. Broken Chain.
Fiddler and Kunta are out finding flowers for Mrs. Reynolds because it's her birthday. Auralia has been going to see Ames every night. Kunta is concerned. He says: "I suppose she ain't said nothing?" Of course, Fiddler doesn't know what he is referring to because Auralia has not said anything.
Back in his shed Kunta continues to work on his chains. All of a sudden the chain snaps. When Fiddler comes in Kunta shows him his broken chains. Fiddler is very upset with him and he strikes Kunta. He asks him: "Didn't you think of me?" Fiddler says now he will lose everything he has worked for. It ain't much, he says, but it's something. He then tells Kunta that he must go and must go right now! Kunta broke his chains and will be whipped for sure. Kunta tells him: "Chains ain't right for a nigger, Fiddler." Fiddler agrees with that. Kunta hugs Fiddler goodbye and thanks him: "You help Kunta be free!" He leaves. Fiddler with watery eyes asks himself and Kunta: "What it like to be free, African? It must be something special."
Kunta makes a run for it, but is slowed by having to hold the chain in one hand so it won't trip him. He runs through the woods.
Scene 23. Tasting Snow -- and Capture.
Kunta cools his feet in a stream. He is soon worn out by running. He finds a fallen tree that is cut in half in places. He lays down on the half part of the tree and falls asleep. The next morning he finds snow on the ground and starts laughing. Fiddler told him about snow. But now he hears the dogs barking and coming closer. Kunta starts running again, but it doesn't take long for the dogs to catch him. Ames on horseback comes up accompanied by a number of black slave chasers. He tells the slaves to get the dogs off Toby. Ames then tells Toby that he is going to learn to answer to his name.
Scene 24. The Sting of Failure.
Ames brings Toby back. Toby is tied by the wrists to a long rope attached to Ames' saddle. He pulls Toby along behind him. Auralia sees Toby being brought back. She runs to tell her father that they got Kunta. Fiddler, scared for they young man, rushes over to the plantation house. He asks Mrs. Reynolds if he could see Master Reynolds? Mrs. Reynolds is not pleased and asks if this is urgent. Fiddler says: "It's powerful important." She goes in to ask her husband if he will see Fiddler.
Ames gets his whip.
Mrs. Reynolds tells Fiddler that he can go in, but warns him not to overstay his welcome.
Ames has other slaves follow his order: "Tie him off!"
Fiddler begs for leniency with Master Reynolds. Reynolds, however, protests to Fiddler that Toby is a run away! He has no alternative but to punish him. Reynolds then tells Fiddler that there are going to have to be some adjustments coming for Fiddler himself. Fiddler failed to curb Toby and he will have to suffer the consequences of that failure.
Ames shouts to the slaves gathered around that now they are going to see "how a bad nigger gets turned good!"
Reynolds tells Fiddler that Mr. Ames is now in charge of the African. They will discuss the matter of his punishment at another time.
Scene 25. "My name is Toby."
Ames demands that Kunta say his name is Toby. Kunta refuses and the whip is applied to him. The request is repeated and Kunta still refuses. So the whip is applied again. This goes on until finally Kunta says that his name is Toby. Ames tells him to say it louder so everyone can hear it. Kunta says loudly: "Toby! My name is Toby!" Ames says: "Ah, that's a good nigger." Auralia is saddened and upset by the terrible spectacle.
Scene 26. Another Day.
Fiddler comes over to take care of Kunta. He unties his hands and gives him some water. With tears in his eyes, Fiddler tells him: "Kunta, that's who you'll always be. Kunta Kinte." He also says: "There's gonna be another day! You hear me? There's gonna be another day!"
Scene 1. Credits. Scene 2. Toby Be Good.
Scene 2. Toby Be Good.
Spotsylvania County, Virginia. September 27, 1776 (nine years later). The slaves are loading tobacco on wagons belonging to the tobacco buyers. A white man talks with Toby about getting some men to help Toby load some heavy boxes into the back of one of the wagons. Toby just picks the boxes up and places them on the wagon.
The fellow wants to take Toby with him to help him unload the goods. But Ames says there is no way Toby is going to be going. He is too likely to run away. Toby goes into his act: "Toby be good nigger for Master. . . . Toby be good, Toby be real good." Master Reynolds says Toby is staying put.
Scene 3. Family Debt.
There is a hoe-down going on for the slaves. Itís part of the harvest celebration. Master Reynolds speaks of their having a really great tobacco crop. Reynolds is particularly happy about this because he hopes to pay off most of his debt to his brother, Dr. Reynolds. The doctor tells the brother that he desperately needs more field hands for his own plantation land. He says: "I must have the money you owe me."
The doctor continues to flirt with his brotherís wife.
Scene 4. Escape Plan.
Fiddler goes to talk to Toby. Toby is praying to Allah, which displeases Fiddler. He tells Toby that white folks donít want to see him praying to Allah. Fiddler also says that Toby is so anxious these days that he knows Toby is up to something. He asks: "Whatís your plan?"
Toby says he is going to hop on the last tobacco wagon leaving the plantation. Fiddler tells him: "Ainít no way to beat the law. White folks live by it, and niggers die by it." Toby says maybe he will go to the Calvert plantation for Fanta.
Knowing he canít stop Toby, Fiddler says he will cover his escape by playing his fiddle extra vigorously. Toby gives Fiddler a hug and says goodbye to him. Fiddler hopes that it will be a good goodbye.
Scene 5. Hidden Cargo.
Fiddler plays away at the hoe-down and the slaves make a lot of noise. Toby runs off. He runs to a point along the plantation road where he can hop on the wagon without being seen. Ames is there with the driver of the last wagon. When Ames leaves and the wagon driver takes off, Kunta jumps onto the wagon and slides himself under the canvas tarp.
Scene 6. Search for a Slave.
Fiddler continues playing at the hoe-down. He watches as the three tobacco wagons leave.
Along the route, the wagons stop and the men say that this is Calvertís plantation. So when the wagons start up again, Kunta slides himself out of the wagon and starts running.
The slave chasers talk with Mr. Reynolds, who tells them: "I prefer him dead." But the slave catchers say they should bring him back alive so he can make an example of Toby. Reynolds agrees to their plan, partly because the hunters say there are other ways to stop Toby from running again.
When the slave catchers take off, Reynolds fires Ames. He says that Toby made a fool of Ames. Toby ran off on Amesís watch, so the responsibility is that of Ames. Reynolds tells the overseer to be off his property by nightfall.
Scene 7. "I never seen you."
Fiddler watches as the slave hunters ride out.
At the Calvert plantation an old black slave hears a ruckus in the hen house. He grabs a big stick and walks over to the hen house. He thinks the problem is caused by an animal like a fox. He warns the animal to get out! The slave gets a big surprise when the sees a huge black man in the hen house. Kunta asks him if Fanta is around. The older man says that her name is now Maggie. He then tells him to go to the barn and stay put. He stresses to Kunta: "I never seen you."
Scene 8. Nothing Left.
Fanta, now Maggie, comes to the barn to see Kunta. She has matured into a very pretty young lady. Kunta asks her what they did to her. She replies: "Everything!" She looks at the scars on his back. Kunta wants her to run away with him. He uses some Mandinka language words and she tells him to say it in plain English. Maggie says that she has long forgotten all that African talk!
She tells him to call her Maggie and wants to know Kuntaís slave name. Kunta reluctantly tells her his slave name. He then says that the white man takes everything from the Africans. He adds: "The white man donít leave us nothing." Kunta and Maggie kiss.
Maggie tells Kunta that she is now Mr. Calvertís bed wench, so she canít afford to have sex with him. Kunta moans: "The white man donít even leave us, us." Kunta says that he wants and needs Maggie. She lays down. They embrace while on the ground and kiss.
Scene 9. Sheíll Stay.
Kunta wants Maggie to go north with him. Maggie asks him what is he going to do there because he doesnít know how to do white manís work. He says he can get a job. Maggie tells him that he is talking crazy. He calls her Fanta and she gets mad and reiterates firmly that her name is Maggie.
Lord Calvertís son loses a horse race to another man racing back to the plantation. The slave hunters arrive and ask if they have seen a run away slave? They have not.
But then they hear the argument going on between two people in the barn. Kunta says: "We can make it!" Maggie doesn't care. She says she is staying here. She adds: "A dead nigger don't help anyone!" The whites start over toward the barn. Kunta sees them coming and takes off. Maggie cries.
Scene 10. Caught and Punished.
The slave hunters on horseback chase Toby. Toby grabs a rock and throws it at one of the hunters. He hits the man in the head. Knowing Toby isn't going to give up easily, they grab a net. One hunter grabs one side and the other hunter grabs the other side of the net. They charge Toby and throw the net over him. He gets all tied up in the net and is caught. To stop Toby from ever running again, the hunters cut off the top half of his right foot.
Toby is back in a slave cabin. Dr. Reynolds is there with the woman slave Belle. Toby is in a state of delirium and calls out for Fanta. Dr. Reynolds is mad at the slave catchers for maiming Toby. Toby has lingered for three weeks. As the doctor leaves, he comments: "Slave catchers, castrating butchers." Alone with Kunta, Fiddler tells him that Dr. Reynolds now owns them. This was part of the debt payment of Master Reynolds to Dr. Reynolds. Mr. Holland is the overseer.
Dr. Reynolds gets in his carriage. He bemoans the fact that he has so few slaves. He has Fiddler, Belle, Toby, a young woman named Genelva and an older man Luther. He tells his overseer to find some young buck to breed with Genelva. Dr. Reynolds leaves.
Belle goes in to keep nursing Toby. She tells him that he is not going to die because she is not going to let him die.
Scene 11. Can't Run No More.
Kunta screams, but at least he's up in bed. Fiddler comes in and happily says: "Uh-huh, you alive!" But Kunta asks why didn't the slave chasers just kill him? A little later Toby asks Belle what kind of a master is Dr. Reynolds? She testifies that he is a good master. Fiddler tells Kunta: "You can't run no more." Toby replies: "Then I just lay here and die!" Fiddler goes to get the crutches and puts them near Kunta.
Scene 12. Fightin' Man.
Genelva comes to speak with Belle. She likes Luther, but Belle warns her that if she takes up with Luther, she will be sold. Genelva says that Luther likes her for herself, just to talk to her. She then asks Belle if she likes Toby? Genelva says she sure has paid a lot of extraordinary attention to Toby and she smiles a lot now.
Belle goes over to see Toby. She has brought him some boots she got from the master. Toby says that he doesn't need any boots now. Belle says, if that's his attitude, he can just throw them out himself. Kunta insists that he is a Mandingo fightin' man. Belle deliberately makes funs of him. She knows she can put his anger to good use. And Kunta does get mad. He starts to get up and go after her, but he falls on his face. Now he picks up the crutches and pulls himself up. On crutches he now approaches Belle. She steps back and smiles as he approaches closer. She keeps walking backward and he keeps walking forward. She finally shouts: "Lord be praised, Toby, you're gonna walk." Kunta shouts: "Walk!? I'm gonna learn to run!"
Scene 13. Genelva Visits.
June 11, 1780. Four years later. Toby comes home from work without crutches but with a limp. Genelva is there in his cabin. He asks her what she is doing here and she indicates that she wants to have sex with him. She says Luther is too old for her. They kiss.
Holland is looking for Luther, worried that he is with Genelva. He finds Luther, who tells him that Genelva doesn't want him. She says he is too old for her. Genelva is with Toby. So the overseer goes over to Toby's cabin to check out Luther's story. Sure enough, Genelva is there is bed and Toby is putting on a shirt. Frankly, Holland is relieved that Genelva is now with Toby. He had grown weary checking on Genelva and Luther. He laughs and tells Toby: "You one lucky nigger, Toby!"
Scene 14. New Job.
Genelva sneaks out to see Luther and they run away together. Bell comes to Toby to ask him if itís true that Genelva tricked Mr. Harlan by using Toby so she and Luther could run away. Toby is non-committal. Bell asks him if he thinks Genelva is pretty? Toby says he likes a different kind of face, the kind that Bell has. He says she has a Mandinka face. Bell says she ainít no African, but rather: "Iím American!"
Bell asks Dr. Reynolds if Toby could be his new driver? The doctor says he is preoccupied by other things. They are fighting against the British. And he wants to know if Bell is sure that Toby wonít run off for he surely has "runaway" blood. Bell says that she is certain.
Scene 15. A Horse is a Horse.
Fiddler teases Toby about being the new driver for Dr. Reynolds. But Toby wants to know why Bell asked Dr. Reynolds to make him the driver? He says this because he says he doesnít want anybody liking him. Once again Fiddler tries to set him straight by being very blunt: "You is a nigger, Toby, a plain old nigger is all."
Toby drives the wagon to pick up Dr. Reynolds. Bell comes out to see him and says he looks fine up there on the driverís seat. Toby asks her why did she do this for him? She asks him if he will promise not to run off? He doesnít say anything and Bell sneers: "Africans!" Toby sneers back at her: "Americans!"
Scene 16. A Liaison in the Woods.
Dr. Reynolds has Toby stop the carriage by the side of the road. He tells Toby that he will be back shortly. Toby sees him meet up with Mrs. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds and Mrs. Reynolds hug and kiss. He asks his lover about his little Anne and Mrs. Reynolds says she is more like him everyday.
Scene 17. Foolish Talk.
Bell tells Toby and Fiddler that the white folks are so happy. They say the British have surrendered. There is a knock at the door. It is little Anne come to get some cookies from Bell. Bell is very happy to see the little girl and gives her the cookies. When the little girl leaves, Fiddler says that he has heard that little Anne is the doctorís child. Bell says that is just nigger gossip.
Toby says he has got to drive early in the morning so he is going to bed. He tells Bell: "I like driving." He leaves. Fiddler tells Bell that was Tobyís way of thanking her.
Scene 18. Gifts of Love.
Toby comes to Bellís place. He has made a bowl for her in which to mash corn. She invites him over for dinner. Toby shows up, bringing the masher he also made for Bell. They sit and talk for awhile. Bell says that the white folks are going to choose George Washington to be the president.
Bell tells Toby that this if the first time any man on the plantation ever made something for her. She then shows him a pair of socks that she made for him. He kisses Bell.
Scene 19. No Longer Apart.
Fiddler talks with Toby. Luther and Genelva were sold off to different places. He also says that he doesnít want to get hitched to anyone. Fiddler says that the white massas want to keep niggers apart to keep them weak. In fact, he says, Toby has given the white folks "the most biggest victory ever."
There is a knock on Bellís door. Toby has come to speak with her on a serious matter. He makes it clear that he is never going to be a Christian man; will never eat pork; and at times is not easy to get along with. The two people smile at each other. They laugh, hug and kiss.
20. Wedding Day Blues.
A black wedding, known as jumping the broom, is held for Toby and Bell. A woman places a broom in front of the couple and has them jump over the broom into the land of matrimony. The couple then kisses. Fiddler plays the fiddle and everyone kisses the bride, while Dr. Reynolds and little Anne watch.
While the whole wedding party celebrates, Toby walks over to a tree and sits down. Bell comes over to ask whatís bothering him. He tells her that he was just thinking about his village and his family. Bells shushes him saying that she doesnít want to hear about that now.
21. Sound of the Drum.
Dr. Reynolds goes to the Emmett Plantation. Toby drops him off.
Back at the slave quarters, Toby hears a drum being beaten. He goes to check it out. He finds a single man beating the drum. The man is also from Africa. His slave name is Pompey. Pompey says that the Africans in America have got to remember the old African ways and pass them on to their children. Toby tells Pompey he agrees and adds that the American blacks have no memories of Africa .
Pompey talks to Toby about escape. He says the abolitionists hide niggers and makes them free. Toby says he definitely wants to go with Pompey. Pompey tells him to listen for the drum signal.
Scene 22. Bellís Secret.
Toby tells Bell about Pompey. He says that they are going to head north. Bell tells him to stop that! Now she tells him a secret. She was on another plantation. She married a man named Ben and they had two girls. He decided to run off and Bell helped him. He was caught and hanged. Her two babies were sold off to another plantation owner. She never saw them again. Bell says if one more terrible thing happens to her, she is just going to die.
Toby asks Bell why does she tell him this story now? Because, Bell is pregnant.
Scene 23. Again and a Loss.
Toby and Fiddler wait in the main room. They suddenly hear the cries of a baby. Dr. Reynolds comes out and tells Toby that he has a daughter. Toby goes in to see his baby girl. He tells his wife that he is going to name her Kizzy, a name that in the Mandinka language means "she stays put".
Sitting under a tree, Toby tells Fiddler he is worried about what to tell Dr. Reynolds about the origins of the name Kizzy. Fiddler advises him to tell the doctor that it is a family name on Bellís side. Toby says he doesnít like this lying game. Fiddler says itís necessary with white folks.
Toby says that he is going to tell his daughter all about her African grandparents. While Toby keeps talking, he suddenly realizes that Fiddler is being much too quiet. Toby investigates and finds that Fiddler has died. He holds Fiddler and tells him: "Now you know how it feels to be free, Fiddler."
Scene 24. To the Night Sky.
Toby tells Bell that he is going to teach their daughter the ways of the Mandinkas. She tells him he just wonít give up. Not for her, not for anybody. Toby says thatís right. He wonít give up his African ways.
Toby takes his daughter out into the open night to raise her to the sky. He shouts: "Kizzy! Behold the only thing greater than yourself!"
Scene 25. Freedom Call.
Toby hears the beat of the drum and rushes toward the sound. So also does Bell. She runs out into an open area and is so scared that she suddenly stops. The drum stops beating. Toby comes running and stops in front of Bell. She asks Toby: "You ainít gonna leave is you, Toby?" Bell tells him that this is his home now too. Toby says that no, this is not his home, but this is his child and they are a family.
Scene 26. Kizzyís Story.
Toby goes back home with his wife and baby. He tells his daughter that she is from special people. Toby starts telling her the whole story of his background.
Scene 27. Credits.
Scene 2. Covenants.
May 20, 1800, 16 years later. Kizzy is 16 years old. A young man named Noah comes over and greets her. He also asks her father if he could talk to him. He wants to jump the broom with Toby's daughter. Toby senses that and makes an excuse why he can't talk to Noah now.
Ordell the overseer tells Dr. Reynolds that they should consider selling Noah. They need a Whitney cotton gin to speed up cotton production and the money from the sale would put a big down payment on the gin. Reynolds, however, says that he has made a covenant with his slaves that as long as they obey his rules, they will never be sold.
Scene 3. The Fuss over Missy Anne.
Toby speaks with Bell about Noah. He doesn't seem very enthused about the lad, but Bell says she likes him. Missy Anne will be here tomorrow. Kizzy grew up with her. In fact, they were best friends. Kizzy writes her name with chalk on the rocks in front of the fireplace. Bell sees this, slaps her and tells her never to do that again. Kizzy cries. Missy Anne was the one who taught her. Bell now tries to explain to Kizzy that a childhood relationship between people of two different skin colors is one thing, but an adult relationship is quite another. Kizzy gets upset and asks: You saying Missy Anne ain't going to be my friend no more?" Bell says that the relationship might be different now.
The slaves line up outside the plantation house for the arrival of Missy Anne.
Scene 4. Dearest Friends.
Dr. Reynold's "niece" arrives for a visit. She still does not know the truth about her real father. And Dr. Reynolds is banned from his brother's plantation after John Reynolds discovered the affair his wife was having with his brother. Missy Anne arrives and she hugs her "uncle". She also hugs Mammy Bell. But it's Kizzy who she wants to see. Kizzy comes forward and the two act just like old friends separated for awhile.
Scene 5. Confidences.
Noah comes over to the stables to see Toby work on a horse. He asks Toby about his right foot. The reason for this inquiry is that he wants to learn all he can about escaping from slavery. Toby refuses to tell him, saying it's too likely to fail and he will be sold away to another plantation.
Meanwhile, Kizzy and Missy Anne are jabbering away about the latest gossip. Missy Anne tells her about her fourth cousin who is tall and handsome and they even kissed! He wrote her a love letter. Kizzy doesn't have much of a chance to say anything, because Missy Anne jabbers on and on.
Noah is still determined to escape. Kizzy asks him why would he risk being sold away from Mother Ada and his sweetheart? He says he wants to be free and he will be free. Then he'll come back for his mother and Kizzy. He says he is heading north soon.
Scene 6. Cruel Joke.
The overseer is mad that Noah is with Toby once again in the stables. He says Noah has been breaking the rules lately. The overseer says one more time and Noah will be sold south of here.
Missy Anne remembers back when Kizzy and she would play school. She tells Kizzy that she was a good student. Then she has Kizzy read out loud to show that she still remembers what she learned. Kizzy agrees. Dr. Reynolds hears Kizzy's voice and comes into the room. He is shocked that Kizzy can read! Getting Kizzy out of trouble, Missy Anne says that Kizzy can't read. She just had her memorize a passage to pretend that she can read. They are going to play a joke on Mammy Bell. The doctor is relieved that Kizzy can't read, but he now asks the two young women why would they even want to play such a joke on Mammy Bell? He declares it's a cruel joke. After her "uncle" leaves, Missy Anne tells Kizzy that she will always protect her.
When Noah sees Kizzy he complains that he never sees her anymore. And time is running out for his departure.
Scene 7. Tom Moore. Tom Moore talks to William Reynolds about the recent black slave revolt. He says they actually plotted to kidnap the governor. Thankfully, he says, the plot has been crushed. He just stopped by to warn William.
Missy Anne tells Kizzy that she will come over to the John Reynolds plantation when Toby comes to bring the filly, a birthday present from her "uncle". She says that she is going to buy Kizzy away from her "uncle".
Tom Moore tells William that some of the patrollers have skinned some niggers, while others have set niggers on fire. Tom says he will bring his wife over to visit the Reynolds' plantation. William does not look all that enthused about the idea. Tom is of a lower social class than William and William finds the man's manners somewhat lacking.
Scene 8. The Fate of Slaves.
Missy Anne leaves her uncle's plantation for her own. Noah tells Kizzy that he has to go tonight. Kizzy says she heard that the patrollers are out skinning and burning niggers. Noah tells her not to worry because he will get past the patrollers. He says goodbye to Kizzy and sets out on his escape.
The next day Toby and Kizzy with the filly behind them drive to the John Reynolds plantation. They are stopped by patrollers along the way. Luckily, they have their permission letters to be traveling to another plantation. There is a group of slaves detained by the side of the road. One of them yells to Toby and Kizzy that he is not a runaway and these men are not patrollers. They stole him from his master. One of the "patrollers" tells Toby and Kizzy to get going and don't pay any attention to what the slave said. Toby and Kizzy drive off. Kizzy tells her father that Noah left last night. Toby says that if Noah can stay free a week, maybe he will stay free.
Scene 9. Missy Anne's Plan.
Anne tells Kizzy that her uncle will make a gift of Kizzy to her. She adds: "You'll be my slave!" Kizzy will also have a room of her own, next to Anne's room. Anne again says she will protect Kizzy and, anyway, it will all be legal. Kizzy doesn't understand the word "legal". So Anne starts explaining the natural order of things in the south. She says that white folks are smarter than blacks. Why? Because God made it that way! The naive Kizzy says that the abolitionists are trying to change things. Anne suddenly gets very serious and tells Kizzy that if they weren't friends, she could have her flogged for even mentioning the word abolitionists. But they are friends! She goes on saying that the abolitionists are evil people, like the Quakers. "They are against God", she says. She ends by telling Kizzy not to tell her mother about their plans. It will be their secret. The naive Anne says Mammy Bell will be so happy!
The overseer tells William that Noah has run off, but William says no, Noah's probably out chasing some gal. The overseer insists that Noah has run off. He only has eyes for Kizzy, he says. William now gives the overseer permission to do what he has to do.
Scene 10. Terror of the Whip.
Noah has been gone a whole week and Toby and Kizzy are ecstatic. Kizzy now spills the beans about her and Missy Anne's plans. Toby says: "Damn white people!" They are trying to take their daughter away from them. Also terribly upset is Bell. Kizzy speculates that she will be going away with Noah anyway. She says she just knows Noah is free now. At this very moment someone screams! They know the voice is that of Ada, Noah's mother. They rush out of their cabin to see what's going on.
Noah is tied to a rope trailing behind the overseer's horse, just like Kunta Kinte was many years ago. Ordell tells Master Reynolds that Noah up up a fight. And the escapee had a traveling pass! Noah is taken into the barn and whipped. Kizzy cries.
Scene 11. Sold.
The overseers comes into the Toby cabin saying that the master wants to see Toby and Bell, but not Kizzy.
The master tells Toby and Bell that the plantation is a family. Break the rules and the offender has to be removed or else the family will be damaged. Kizzy's parents realize that he is saying that Noah will be sold. They protest that this is not fair. Then the master shows them the traveling pass Noah had on him. He says it was forged by Kizzy. Noah is already sold off and so is Kizzy. Bell gets down on her knees to beg the master for mercy. It's no use. Tom Moore will be Kizzy's new master.
Kizzy finds out and she seeks out Missy Anne for some of that protection Anne had promised her. There is nothing that Missy Anne can do about it. As Kizzy is taken away amidst great crying, Anne and her Uncle watch from a second floor window. Now Anne turns on her friend blaming Kizzy for everything. William is a bit shocked at how selfish and self-centered his daughter is, but says nothing to her. Bell is so upset that she takes her anger out on Toby blaming him for what happened to their daughter.
Scene 12. What's Deserved.
The overseer brings Kizzy to the Moore place. A slave tells him that the master wants the new woman in the cabin at the end of slave row. Moore visits Kizzy at night. He refers to her as Kizzy Moore and says he paid a good price for her. He then rapes her, in spite of her fighting him.
The next morning the slave cook takes care of Kizzy. She tells Kizzy that Tom Moore likes nigger women. The cook adds that the master is likely to bother her every night for awhile, like he once bothered her when she was younger. Kizzy tells the cook that she is going to have a boy child and Tom More is going get what he deserves from her son.
Scene 13. The Moore Plantation.
Caswell County, North Carolina. October 6, 1824. 18 years later. Mr. Bennett comes to see Tom Moore. His driver is a big black man named Sam, who is said to be quite the ladies' man. Sam takes an immediate liking to Kizzy. Kizzy has a son named George who is around 18 years old. He and Mingo are getting the fighting cocks ready to show to Bennett. Later Kizzy talks to her son and says that she is going to make something of him, in spite of himeslf.
Scene 14. Chasing Chickens.
George shows Bennett their champion cock fighter, Old Red. He notices Sam talking with his mother and George doesn't like it. Sam gives Kizzy some daisies he picked up on the plantation. Kizzy is skeptical of his motives and boldly tells him about herself: nobody takes it free or buys it cheap.
Scene 15. Ladies' Man.
Matilda is a young woman who is the daughter of the local black reverend. She is very sweet on George. Her plan is to jump the broom with George, even though she knows that George is a big flirt with all the women. Matilda hears him talking with a group of women, making a joke about the good reverend. She goes over to him and tells him to stop blaspheming and mocking her father. George is very apologetic and tries to soothe her hurt feelings. He says he wants to show her something. He tells his mother, kisses her goodbye and takes Matilda away with him.
Sam sees the young fellow kiss Kizzy and he asks Kizzy why she kissed the fellow? She explains that George is her son. Sam laughs. He then sees Kizzy to her cabin. She tells him that George and the Master are real close. Kizzy plays hard to get for awhile, but then agrees to let Sam in for a visit.
Scene 16. Kizzy and Sam.
George and Tom Moore are together with their fighting roosters. George tells the master that he loves these birds.
Kizzy and Sam are together in her cabin. She tells Sam about her father and Africa. Kizzy asks how far away is the John Reynold's plantation? It's about four hours by carriage. She wants Sam to take her there one day. They kiss.
Scene 17. "I lose everybody."
George walks by his mother's cabin and hears her talking with Sam. He doesn't like it.
Sam asks Kizzy go fetch him some water. She gets the water, but throws it on him saying he is never to tell her to fetch things. She's been a slave all her life, but she won't be a slave in her own cabin. Sam is mad, but gets over it quickly after hearing her explanation. Now they both laugh about it. A little later Kizzy cries saying: "I looses everybody, everybody." And now Sam is going to have to leave. She asks Sam what is she going to do after he is gone? He tells her she will go on day to day like slaves have always done.
Scene 18. Standing Up for Kizzy.
George comes to Kizzy asking her isn't she ashamed of herself keeping that driver in her cabin every night? He says he won't stand for it. Sam arrives and starts to intervene. Georges tells him to let his mama be! Sam tells George that he plans to marry his mother. Kizzy is a bit surprised at this. Sam tells her: "I never stopped being lonely until I met you." He then asks her if she will have him? Kizzy says she can't answer him right away. Sam says it was good that George stood up for his mother. He walks away.
George says that he reckons that Sam is a good man. Kizzy says that George still needs her, but George says that she has given him all she can give him. It's time that she got some happiness. Kizzy is very touched by these lovely words.
Scene 19. Another Visit.
Bennett tells Tom Moore that he wants to buy Chicken George from him, but Moore refuses. He says that George is the best natural-born chicken fighter is these parts. George is going to make him some money. So Bennett thanks Moore's wife for the food and the hospitality. Moore offers the hospitality of his slave row to Bennett, but he says no. Bennett leaves. Tom tells his wife that he is going out for a long walk. His wife knows where he's going. She says: "Don't catch anything!"
Moore pays a visit to Kizzy. She tells him no. She even says please and that she is going to be married in awhile. The Master just has her take off his boots and then proceeds to rape her.
Scene 20. Daughter's Promise.
Kizzy is out riding in the carriage with Sam. She begs him to take her to the John Reynolds's plantation. Sam is reluctant because he knows he might get in trouble with his master, but Kizzy keeps asking him and he finally agrees to take her. When they arrive, Kizzy learns from one of the older slaves that her father died two years ago after Bell was sold to a traveling slaver. Just before he died he jabbered away in African talk. At the gravesite she asks to be alone for awhile with her father. She says that wherever he is, she misses him so. Kizzy tells dad that now she has a son and that she is going to marry and have more children. She says she will teach her children about freedom. Kizzy adds: "Your dream will not die! Someday, we gonna be free." Before they leave for home, Kizzy scratches out the name "Toby" and replaces it with "Kunta Kinte".
Scene 21. Trouble after Dark.
Sam and Kizzy ride back to the Moore plantation. Sam tells her that his master doesn't abide slaves being sassy and that she is going to have to act different when around him. Kizzy does not like the sound of that. It sounds as though Sam is going to be too accommodating to the whites. Sam says they are going to be in a world of trouble for arriving home so late.
And sure enough, when Sam and Kizzy arrive the master chews Sam out. He asks: "How dare you abuse my good nature? . ." He threatens to send Sam to work in the fields as punishment. Sam gets down on his knees and begs the master not to do this. He says he is sorry. Kizzy sees Sam groveling to the master and doesn't approve one bit. When the yelling is over, Sam tells Kizzy that they are going to be alright, but Kizzy just walks away from him.
Scene 22. You Could Have Cared.
Sam asks Kizzy if she is all packed up and ready to go? Kizzy answers that she is not going. He says he thought she loved him. Kizzy answers that it's not his fault. They are just too different. She says she is sorry and asks him to forgive her. Sam accuses her of thinking that she's better than him, but she does the same thing. He knows that Tom Moore paid a visit to her recently. This upsets Kizzy and she asks, if he knew, why didn't he say something? She goes on to say: "You could have cared!" The master may touch her body, but he can't touch her spirit. She says when the whites plague Sam, he just gives himself over for free. Sad, Sam tells her not to say that he doesn't have a dream, because he does: "It's just not as big as yours is all." He leaves the cabin.
Scene 23. Cock of the Walk.
Tom Moore tells George that it's time to prepare to go. He then tells Mingo that George can handle the birds all by himself. Mingo is staying home from now on. Mingo objects and George supports his protestations, but Moore won't budge. He tells the slaves that George is now his main trainer. Moore then tells George to get himself a wife, so he is not off gallivanting every night after women. The master leaves. Mingo tells George to wear his hat for now he is surely the cock of the walk. George loves the hat.
Scene 24. New Hope.
Mr. Bennett and Sam are leaving the Moore plantation. Kizzy watches as they drive off. George comes to his mother and asks her why she isn't going with Sam? Kizzy explains that Sam just wasn't like them. George says he's sorry to hear that. He then tells his mother that he is going to succeed. He says he loves being a cock fighter and he is going to make a name for himself. With the money he makes, he will buy his freedom. Moreover, he is going to marry Matilda.
Kizzy is pleased with her son. She says: "There's hope for you yet, George." But she warns him to be careful of the master. George doesn't know what she means. He laughs a bit and says: "He more like a daddy to me." George runs off.
Scene 2. Freedom's Price.
May 27, 1841. 17 years later. Chicken George's rooster wins again. After the bout he talks with a black trainer who bought his own freedom. He was more expensive to buy because he was and is a trainer. The other trainer asks Chicken George if Tom Moore ever shares the winnings with him and Chicken George nods his head yes, but it's a lame shake of the head. This conversation gets Chicken George to think about buying himself too.
Scene 3. No Cracker.
Chicken George drives the wagon by himself because Tom Moore is sleeping of a drunken spree in the back of the wagon. He is stopped by patrollers who ask him: "Do you know a nigger known as Nat Turner?" No, is the answer. They give Chicken George a hard time because they don't see the white man in the wagon. Chicken George tries to wake him with little success. Finally one of the white men checks and he shouts out: "This cracker's drunk!" Tom Moore sits up quickly and he is mad. He shouts back: "I'm no cracker! Tom Moore is no cracker!" Tom complains to Chicken George that the gentry has always treated him worse than a nigger. He says if he could just beat Squire James at the game of cock fighting, he might get some respect. Chicken George asks his master if he has ever heard of Nat Turner? Tom says he had never hear of the man.
Scene 4. Who is this Nat Turner?
Chicken George and Tom Moore return home. Everything is extremely quiet. Tom is back to sleeping in the back. Chicken George stops in front of the main house and Mrs. Moore shoots at him. She accuses him of killing her husband. Chicken George has to hide behind the wagon because she continues shooting. Tom is finally awakened and his wife is very relieved to see him. She says she shot because of that Nat Turner. He has been killing white folks. Tom asks: "Who is this Nat Turner?"
Chicken George talks with his family about this Nat Turner. The women have heard about Turner. It started in Southampton County, Virginia. Black slaves started killing whites, including the babies. Meanwhile, Mrs. Moore tells her husband that the niggers on their place are trying to kill them. She says she found a piece of glass on her plate the other day. She is convinced that the slaves are putting ground glass in their food.
Scene 5. Fine Friendship.
Chicken George says that Tom Moore will smooth the feathers of his wife. He tells the others that master knows they ain't out killing white folks. Kizzy tells her son that master can't be his friend. She says that Missy Anne turned her black on her and never lifted a finger to save her when she was sold away to Tom Moore. Chicken George says that he and Tom Moore are best friends. Just then Tom Moore bursts into the cabin with a shotgun in his hands and looking crazy. He warns them that they will get the shotgun if they try to kill him and his wife. Chicken George says that Mr. Moore can trust them, but Moore says: "Trusting blacks got whole families of whites killed." He tells him to get back or he'll splatter him to kingdom come. Moore leaves.
Kizzy tells her son: "There be your fine friendship, George!" And now all the slaves have to turn in all sharp instruments, while Mrs. Moore holds a pistol on them.
Scene 6. Cost Estimate.
Chicken George sits down and tries to figure out what it would cost to buy the freedom of the entire family. He figures it would be around $6,000 dollars for all of them. And it will take him ten years to get the money.
Chicken George and Matilda are out hunting for mushrooms. Matilda finds a dead black man shot three or four times. Chicken George figures it must be one of Nat Turner's boys. Matilda wonders why his corpse is smiling like that?
Scene 7. The Squire's Position.
When they hear a carriage approaching, Chicken George and Matilda push the black man more into the bushes so his body won't be discovered. The man in the carriage turns out to Squire James. He stops to talk with Chicken George. He tells George that he wants to buy him. He is here to talk with Tom Moore about it. Squire James says he is setting up a big cock fighting tournament with a purse of $30,000 dollars. He tells Chicken George that he will give him freedom in five years time and a cut of the winnings if George will just work for him.
Squire James also tells Chicken George that they caught Nat Turner three days ago and hung him. He says there were no more than 80 blacks involved anyway. Squire James continues on to talk to Tom Moore. Chicken George and Matilda are so happy that they dance around the place.
Scene 8. Father and Son.
Tom Moore tells Chicken George that Squire James offered him $3,500 dollars to buy his main trainer, Chicken George. And there's $30,000 dollars in the purse! Chicken George tries to convince his master to sell him, but Tom says: "You're mine George." This makes Chicken George very angry and full of despair. He says that master ain't never going to sell him, regardless of the price. George says now he understands, he understands it all.
Chicken George goes out to the dead man and gets the pistol off the body. He says he is going to kill Master Moore. Kizzy says he can't do that! She says: "No! He's your daddy." Kizzy adds that she was never going to tell him, but now she had to. Chicken George cries and tells his mother he won't do it.
Chicken George goes to see Tom Moore and asks him if he is his daddy? Tom Moore says yes and he's got twenty more like George spread around the whole area here. George tells him that he doesn't want to fight his chickens for him any more. So Moore threatens to sell his boy Tom away or maybe George's wife. Now Moore asks him what's he going to do? With great bitterness Georges says: "I'm gonna fight your chickens for yah, massa."
Scene 9. Striking a Bargain.
The day of the big cock fight arrives. It will take place under a huge canvas cover. Squire James has a partner, an Englishman named Sir Eric Russell. Russell wants to bet Tom Moore $10,000 dollars extra on the match up of their two roosters. Moore takes the bet. He talks with Chicken George and, in order to make sure George will cooperate, he says he will set George free if their cock wins the match.
Scene 10. "At least you free."
Chicken George is now ready and willing to fight his rooster. Moore is also ready. He bets Russell $10,000 more dollars. Russell readily takes the bet. Moore's rooster is killed in the fight. Chicken George sadly goes over to pick up his bird. He tells the bird: "Well, at least you free."
Scene 11. Bound for England.
Russell tells Moore that his rooster had no business even being in the same ring as the English rooster. Russell's rooster was from a line specially bred at a tremendous cost to fight. He says he will settle it up if Tom will just let them take Chicken George to England with them for awhile.
Moore tells Chicken George that he will only be in England for a few years. And, he says, he will set Chicken George free when he returns to Virginia. A sad Chicken George says goodbye to his children, mother and wife. Matilda tells him: "Come back to me soon, George."
Scene 12. Never Forget.
Before George leaves, his mother tells him to tell the boys again the story of Kunta Kinte. So George reviews the story still once more for the boys. He tells them to never forget who they are. Never forget their great granddaddy Kunta Kinte and stay strong, stay together.
Scene 13. No Recollection.
One day Missy Anne in her carriage stops to get a drink of water. Kizzy immediately recognizes the visitor. She goes over to Missy Anne and says that she is Kizzy. Missy Anne says she is sorry, but she doesn't recollect any darkie named Kizzy. Kizzy goes to the pump to get some water. She spits in the cup and then hands it to Missy Anne.
Mrs. Moore tells her husband that they have no money. They are going to have to sell off their slaves. Tom Moore considers it. His wife asks what about when Chicken George returns from England and finds out that Master Moore sold his family. Her husband says don't worry about it because George will still come back a nigger and what's a nigger to do in a white man's world?
Scene 14. Family Reunion.
Chicken George is making his way back home.
Alamance County, April 2, 1861. 14 years later. Chicken George stops by a group of slaves. By the way he is dressed, a young woman named Irene laughs, which bothers George. But it turns out that Irene is married to his son Tom. His elder son is a blacksmith now. Chicken George goes to see his son. They hug each other. The next stop is to see Matilda. Chicken George walks over to her. She tells him: "Sometimes I feared I'd never see you again, husband." They hug. She then has to tell George the sad news that Mamma Kizzy died last spring.
Scene 15. The Brents.
Tom introduces Master Harvey to his daddy Chicken George. Tom is thrilled to say that his father is a free man now.
Chicken George and Tom go into town to pick up some supplies. The store is owned by a couple of mean brothers. The older Evan Brent tells Tom to call him Master Brent. Tom complies. He then tells Tom to get him a drink of water. Tom complies. Evan sees Chicken George and now wants George to get his brother Jemmy Brent a cup of water. But George is a free man. Evan Brent only says: "We got a law. You stay in the state 60 days and you is a plain nigger again."
Scene 16. Married to a Free Man.
George has his freedom papers out to show Evan Brent, but he just knocks the papers out of his hand. Later, Tom says he is proud that his father stood up to Evan Brent. Yes, George is the first one in the family not to be a slave. Matilda is also happy about his being free. She tells him: "I'm married to a free man, George."
Scene 17. Never Give Up.
A white man shouts to the people outside in the street: "It's war, boys! They attacked Fort Sumter this morning!" Evan Brent jumps up and starts riling up the crowd for the support of the war.
Chicken George is going to leave Virginia. He says goodbye to his family. He tells his wife: "I'll come back for you, my wife. Don't you never give up on me!"
Scene 18. The Story Continues.
Tom rides with his father out the to the border of the plantation. There he says goodbye to his father once more. As Chicken George rides off, he says: "And Chicken George became a free man. My daddy!"
Scene 19. Thief in the Night.
Now an officer in the Confederate army, Evan Brent shouts at Tom to get the army horses shod immediately!
Alone, Tom hears some noise in the Brent Store. He goes in to check on it and a young white man with his hands full of things runs past him and out the door. The Brents and two Confederate soldiers come in to see what happened. They see Tom with some goods in his hands. Tom tries to explain, but the Brents aren't even going to listen to his story. They say they don't see any white boy here, just a full-grown darkie. The two Confederate soldiers hold Tom and Jemmy Brent starts using Tom as a punching bag.
Scene 20. Ol' George.
The thief from the previous night knocks on Tom's door. Tom is being bandage by his wife. Matilda opens the door and the young white man very politely asks if she has got any scraps of food he could eat. Tom's mother feels sorry for the young fellow and lets him in. Tom recognizes him immediately and he confronts the fellow. He tells the women that this man got his ribs cracked. The white fellow says: "I was just hungry."
Matilda gets some food for the fellow. He finishes eating everything. He tells them his name is George Johnson. George then asks if they got any more food, because he has his wife with him. His hosts tell him to bring her in. He calls for his wife Martha and she comes in. She is very pregnant. She does a little curtsy and says: "Pleased to meet you."
Scene 21. Overseer Training.
George and Martha are going to stay with them for awhile. Later George talks with Master Harvey. Harvey says he couldn't let him work in the fields, because he can't have a white man doing the same work as the slaves. But George could be the overseer. George takes the job, despite the master saying that he can't pay him much.
George comes back to talk to Tom and his brother. They ask George what work he will be doing and he says: "I's overseer." This shocks the two men. George doesn't know anything about running slaves and a plantation. In fact, George has to ask them what does an overseer do. One thing an overseer does is get the slaves to work by hitting them. George says that he couldn't do that. He couldn't, for instance, whoop Lewis. He even says Tom is trying to teach him to be "mean".
Tom can't believe how ignorant this fellow is. So he sets out the teach George how to be an overseer. The first thing he says, is that George will never call him "sir" again. Tom then does some role playing with Lewis as the slave and the overseer. He demonstrates how he demands that Lewis bring him a bucket of water. And he shows George how to threaten a slave with a whipping if he doesn't act fast enough in fulfilling the overseer's demands.
Scene 22. Bad News from the Front.
Tom is shooing a horse. He sees Evan Brent with a group of Confederate soldiers returning to the area. Evan eats dinner with Master Harvey and his wife. He tells the others at the table that they need everybody to rally around the Confederacy. Mrs. Harvey says that they can have her fancy silver service. Master Harvey is shocked that she is willing to part with it.
Scene 23. Sad News at Home.
George rushes over to the home of Tom and Irene and tells them that Martha is having a baby. Irene rushes over to get Matilda.
A bit later Matilda comes out and says that Martha is fine. She is sleeping. But the baby didn't make it.
A funeral is held for Ethan Johnson, 1864. Tom says some words and then George says to the assembled: "You are all my friends. You're like my family. Martha and me, we thanks you."
Scene 24. Jemmy Reappears.
Jemmy Brent comes to the blacksmith shop. Tom hears someone calling his name from the rear of the shop. He grabs a hammer for protection and goes to see who it is. It is Jemmy Brent who tells Tom that the Confederates are whooped. He then asks for Tom's help. Tom has a good question: "Why should I help you?" Jemmy says that hard times are coming and they got to start getting along with one another. He says here's his keys to the shop. He wants Tom to retrieve his civilian clothing. He says he will wait at the shop for Tom's return. He reiterates that trust has go to start somewhere. Tom takes the keys and goes. Jemmy says lowly: "Nigger!"
A little later Irene comes looking in the shop for Tom. She runs into Jemmy instead, who says to her: "Well, you sweet thing."
Scene 25. To the Death.
Tom catches Jemmy trying to remove Irene's clothes. When Jemmy sees him, he says: "You brought my clothes. That's good, Tom." Tom says: "I believed you." Tom is mad and Jemmy tells him that he does believe that Tom is looking for a whoopin'. Jemmy grabs some metal chains. Tom places Jemmy's clothes on the fire for blacksmithing and they soon catch fire. The men scuffle. Tom grabs Jemmy from behind and Jemmy can't get out of his grip. Tom pushes him to the water trough and then forces his head into the trough and holds his head below water until Jemmy drowns.
Scene 26. Evan's Promise.
Evan Brent with some Confederate soldiers ready to move out come over to question the black slaves on the Harvey plantation. Evan wants to know if any one of them has seen his brother Jemmy Brent. No one says anything. Evan says somebody had to have seen his brother, because his horse was found no more than a mile from here. Evan whirls his horse around to leave the area when he sees a bruise on Tom. He rides over to Tom and asks him where he got those lumps? Tom only says that he got kicked by an animal. Evan is very suspicious of Tom and tells him in a nasty tone: "You ain't seen the last of me, nigger!"
Scene 1. Credits (and the war is over).
Appomattox, Virginia. April 10, 1865. Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant.
A man reads out the message of Gen. Lee to his troops. Evan Brent walks away. The man finishes with: "The war is over. God save the confederacy!" Lewis rides back to the Harvey plantation shouting: "Freedom! We free!"
Scene 2. Freedom Celebration.
Lewis comes riding in and tells his brother Tom: "We's free!" Tom demands: "Who say that?" Lewis says: "The war is over. The south did done give up." The former slaves break out the fiddle and the banjo. Tom asks his mother Matilda why is she looking so sad? She says that she was just thinking about her husband George.
Mr. Harvey comes riding in on his horse. He tells the former slaves that he will try to keep the farm going. They can stay if they want, but he cannot pay them anything. Perhaps they could farm the land and share the crops with him, the owner of the land. He is very down and upset. Harvey says: "I don't know what it means."
Scene 3. Changing Ways.
In his store Evan Brent makes a black man wait and wait. The black man finally says something about it and Evan doesn't like it. After the black man leaves, Senator Arthur Justin speaks with Evan. He tells Evan not to worry. Let the blacks have their day. Evan doesn't like this but the Senator indicates that there are other ways to handle these people. Evan is happy now.
Scene 4. Staying Put.
Tom talks to his group. He says: "We's free at last!" But now, what he wants to know, is how do they survive? One brother says let's go where the pickings are better. Tom suggests that they stay here and farm their own land. He says: 'Here's as good a place to start as any." Tom's brothers are not happy with this answer and talk about going out on their own. Their mother, however, says that they are a family and they are going to stay a family. She wants everyone to stay. White George and Martha will stay too.
Scene 5. Plus and Minuses.
The whites have a meeting. Fred says that he won't sell any of his land to niggers. Evan Brent basically blames the niggers for all his problems. A Mr. Jackson is more level-headed. But the Senator seems to have all the answers. He says that he is going to buy property in the area. The Senator says that the blacks may make a profit off the land, but they don't realize that costs must be deducted. Fred immediately understands the implication of this statement. He says and somehow the niggers never manage to handle their costs. Exactly. The Senator says it doesn't matter who works the land. What really matters is who owns the land. "Whoever controls the land, controls the people on it."
Scene 6. Not for Nothing.
Irene comes running out to the fields. She shouts that a white man has killed President Lincoln last night. The news stuns Tom, but he soon goes back to work. Irene and Tom's brothers don't understand Tom. Didn't he hear them? Tom says he's working hard because he won't let the death of the President be for nothing! At night they sing gospel songs around a fire.
Scene 7. Night Riders.
Standing around the fire, Tom and the others hear a scary yell. Night riders are coming in with torches. Tom tells everyone to get into their cabins. The riders come in shooting wildly. They start setting the buildings on fire. Evan Brent is one of the night riders. After the night riders leave, Tom and his people try to put out the fires.
Scene 8. Where the Shoe Fits.
With sarcasm Tom says: "Free at last." Mr. Harvey comes to look around at the damage. He says he just doesn't understand it. Some in the group say that they got to get out of this area. But Tom says they are staying. These night riders, he says, just means that a few rebs are around, who don't know the war is over.
Tom comes up with a plan to find out who the night riders are. He will mark each horseshoe with a distinctive mark that will allow them to figure out who the riders are.
Scene 9. New Owner.
The Senator asks Mr. Harvey why is he selling his land? Harvey says the night riders have been rampaging around and have done a lot of damage to his property. (And now we see how the wealthy man, the Senator, will profit from the work of the night riders.) The Senator is offering him $5,000 dollars for his land. Harvey says that's not much money for a lifetime of a man's work. The Senator tells him that is true, but that's the best he can offer Harvey. Harvey says he won't get a better offer, so he accepts the deal.
Blacksmith Tom Harvey is marking the shoe of a newly shod horse.
Harvey and his wife are ready to leave for good. He tells his former slaves that the new owner will be along soon. Harvey adds that Senator Justin agreed to wipe out any debts they owe so they will have a fresh start. The blacks are quiet, until Matilda tries to say something nice to Mr. Harvey. She says: "You was better than some, massa." She then tells her family and the group to say goodbye to the Harveys. They do so.
Tom keeps a log of his shoe markings.
Scene 10. Tom Takes a Stand.
Lewis tells Tom that now that they know who these night riders are, let's kill them. But Tom says no, they will go to the law. Lewis thinks Tom is just too naive. George comes to the meeting and apologizes for being delayed. Lewis speaks up saying he doesn't like George being at the meeting, because George is white. He wants George to leave. Tom tells Lewis to shut up, but George says it's okay. He adds: "I ain't one to tarry where I ain't wanted." George leaves.
Tom still insists on going to the law. Lewis thinks his daft. He says: "They'll lynch you!"
Scene 11. Scared but Proud.
When everyone leaves, Irene tells Tom: "You is a plum, stubborn fool! Damn you!" Tom doesn't understand why she is so mad at him. She asks him why does he always have to be the big man? He says he acts the way he does because when his father returns, he wants to be able to look at him straight in the eye. Irene tells Tom that she is very scared. She adds: "I ain't nothing without you." Irene says that she hates him for doing this, but at the same time she is proud of him. They kiss. She tells him she is going with him to the law regardless of his objections.
Scene 12. Seeing the Sheriff.
Irene waits outside the sheriff's office, while Tom goes in to talk with the sheriff. The sheriff listens to Tom and responds: "You're one smart man." The sheriff asks if Tom has told anyone else about this? Only his family group. The sheriff tells Tom to go home and mind his own business for awhile. Tom asks him if he will do something about this and the sheriff says: "I guess I got to take care of it, Tom." Tom leaves. He tells Irene that he thinks they did the right thing.
Scene 13. Indebted.
Tom goes to see George and Martha. He apologizes for what happened. But the damage has been done. Lewis has not come to apologize. Tom leaves realizing that he is getting no where. Martha tells George that they should strike out on their own.
The Senator comes out to speak with Tom and his family. He says that nothing is going to change. Tom speaks up and says that his folks won't stay if they got to work under Evan Brent. The Senator says they can leave as soon as they pay off their debts. They owe $235 dollars. Tom objects that they were told their debts were canceled. Brent says there's nothing in writing to that effect. He then warns the people: "Don't nobody try leaving here!"
George speaks up and says he will stay here too, but Brent and the Senator tell him that he can't sharecrop with niggers. Brent says he will make George the overseer and pay him a good wage. And, after awhile, maybe George and Martha can move into the main house on the plantation. George thinks for awhile, but then says he'll take the job.
Scene 14. Officer of the Law.
The sheriff talks with Brent. He says that he knows who all the night riders are. The sheriff tells Brent that if Brent and his boys don't do something about this situation, he is going to have to give the information to the federal circuit judge. Brent is going to have to do something about Tom Harvey. Brent tells the sheriff that he understands and he will do something about it. The sheriff leaves. Brent looks at his flour sacks and sees they would make perfects masks for his night riders.
Scene 15. Whiplash.
Hooded men are ready to ride. They head out and stop right in front of the cabin belonging to Tom Harvey. Brent shouts: "Tom Harvey! We want you, nigger!" He demands that Tom come out or they will burn his kinfolks out. Tom comes out by himself. They grab him and tie him to a tree. Then they start to lash him with a whip. George tells his wife that there's nothing he can do. And anyway didn't the blacks tell him that like sticks with like.
Tom yells in pain with each lash. George can't stand it anymore and he runs over to Brent saying that since he is the overseer and is in charge of these people, it is his responsibility to deliver their punishment! Brent says: "Let him whip him!" George whips Tom awhile and then stops. Brent asks him why has he stopped! George says the man is senseless, so what's the point? Brent says that in the morning the nigger is going to feel every stroke of that whip. The night rider leaves as George continues to whip Tom.
Scene 16. Not Black and White.
After the night riders have disappeared, Irene rushes to her husband. George tells her that he is sorry. Irene says he doesn't have to apologize because he just saved her man's life. Lewis now apologizes to George for what he said at the meeting. Matilda says it was all her fault because she made the family stay. Irene tells her not to blame herself. Tom is taken to the cabin where his wounds are treated with salve. Tom tells everyone to get his boy Bud out of there. He doesn't want Bud to see him like this. Tom then tells Lewis to dig up the floor under Bud's bed. Lewis doesn't know why, but he starts digging.
Martha takes Bud outside. Bud tells here that he is going to kill those white men. Martha asks Bud which ones is he gonna get? And what if he makes a mistake and kills an innocent person? She then says if Bud's going to kill whites, he might as well start with her. This upsets Bud and he says he didn't mean Martha and her husband. Martha then tells Bud that if he starts killing, he won't be no better than the men who hurt his daddy. Bud seems to have understood the message.
Scene 17. One Night for Ourselves.
From the earth beneath Bud's bed, Lewis brings the pistol to Tom. It's a confederate cavalry officer's pistol. And it is marked with "JB" for Jemmy Brent on the handle. Tom says: "Aint' nobody gonna whip me again!" Just then they hear someone approaching the cabin slowly. They blow out the candle lights. Tom yells that rto whoever is outside to open the door slowly or he's going to blow them away. The door opens slowly. It's Chicken George! Everyone is relieved and happy to see George, who is husband, daddy and granddaddy to those in the cabin. They all hug Chicken George.
Later alone with his wife, Chicken George asks: "What's going on here?" His wife tells him to hush. Evan Brent has dominated their lives all too much lately and Matilda wants George and her to keep this one night for themselves.
Scene 18. Military Operation.
Chicken George sits outside on the porch with two of his best roosters. He says these birds won a lot of money for him -- enough money that he could buy some good land in Tennessee. But now he must turn his attention to what is happening to his family. He says he fought in the Civil War and learned a few things. He suggests that everyone look at the situation like a military operation. Chicken George says that the Senator and Brent are so smug that they can't think effectively. So they should let these two bad men go right on thinking they got them right where they want them. He tells everyone to act very compliant to the Senator, Brent and the other white men.
White George will assist in this operation. He puts on a show with Tom in front of Brent's store. He circles Tom yelling at him to pick up each and every seed that he dropped out of the seed sack. And Tom is doing exactly what George says without a single protest. The sight makes Brent terribly happy.
Meanwhile, Irene goes in to talk to the sheriff. She begs the sheriff to drop the entire case against the night riders. The sheriff keeps asking her if she is sure she wants to do this. She is positive! So the sheriff returns the document containing the horseshoe markings along with the names of the owners of the horses. Irene tears up the document right in front of the sheriff. She tells the sheriff: "God bless you, sir." Irene leaves. The sheriff starts burning the document pieces.
Scene 19. Justin's Suspicious.
Tom goes to buy supplies from Brent. Brent puts him through a test. He tells him: "Fetch me some water, nigger." Tom does it immediately. The Senator comes out to watch the show. Brent tells Tom that he is shaping up into a good boy. Tom only says: "I'm trying, sir."
The Senator talks with Brent. He is a bit suspicious of this sudden idyllic behavior on the part of Tom and his kin. He says they will have to pay an unannounced visit to the farm. The Senator says this might teach them something they ought to know.
Scene 20. Surprise Visit.
Brent and the Senator drive out to Tom's place in a buggy. As they arrive they can hear white George yelling at Tom: "Stop lollygagging, Tom!" Everyone seems to be working hard in the fields. After a very short visit, the Senator tells Brent that they should go back now, since George seems to have the blacks under control. George, however, has a request. He asks for six young mules. If he could get these mules, he assures the Senator he can plant another 100 acres of crops. The Senator tells Brent that George's enthusiasm should be rewarded. They both agree to give George the mules.
As soon as the visitors are out of sight, the lookout, a small boy, in the tree whistles the all clear signal. Everyone in the field drops their implements and goes back to what they were doing before the alarm was sounded. Chicken George just smiles over how well it all went.
Scene 21. Surprised Visitors.
Martha rushes over to Brent and tells him to come out to the farm. George has had an accident and he wants Brent to come out to make sure the darkies don't run off. She has already sent the doctor out to tend to George. Brent says he will come.
Brent arrives by the cabins and sees Martha and the doctor working on George. When Brent walks over to them, they tell Brent that he has been bamboozled. The doctor is really Tom dressed as the doctor. He holds a gun on Brent. George tells Brent that they aren't quite as dumb as he thinks they all are. But then two night riders jump out from around the corner of the barn and get the drop on Tom, George and Martha. Now Brent demands to know where's the rest of the "no-account" niggers? He strikes George, who then tells him they are in the barn. They all go to get the rest of the darkies. The barn door is locked from the inside. Brent tells his two men to force the doors open. They do and one of Tom's brothers throws the two champion cock fighting roosters right in their faces. Now Chicken George and another man get the drop on Brent and his gunmen. Chicken George says his commanding officer would ask him what they should do if the enemy figures out your first plan? "Get yourself another plan!" Chicken George tells Brent and company that he just wants to leave the county peaceably.
Scene 22. The Other Side of the Lash.
They take Brent to the whipping tree and tie him up. Tom holds the whip in his hand and asks Brent: "What does it feel like to be on the other side of the lash?" Tom gets ready to start lashing Brent. He raises his arm and brings the whip down, while Brent already starts screaming. But the whip's end hits the dirt, not the back of Brent. Tom has decided not to whip Brent.
Scene 23. Moving Out.
Chicken George tell Brent that he is letting him go, but "If you bother me or mine ever again, I'll kill you."
The wagons are brought forward and they are ready to roll. Matilda says she wants to say something before they start moving. She talks about her memories of what happened to her and her family on the Harvey plantation. Chicken George is impatient to leave and he says he knows that leaving this place is hard for her. Matilda asks: "Hard? There ain't nothing hard about being happy. This ain't never been our home." She says she's going to leave the place and never think about it again.
Scene 24. New Home, Old Story.
The family is on the move. They move past the sign for Lauderdale County, Tennessee. They arrive. Chicken George shouts that this here is their land. He says some words about Kunta Kinte. Kunta Kinte never stopped trying to be free and now they truly are. To Kunta Kinte, Chicken George shouts: "You is free at last. We is free."
Scene 25. Free at Last.
"Free at Last!" The kinfolk star hugging each other.
Scene 26. Alex Haley Coda.
Alex Haley says that the family settled in Hennings, Tennessee. Matilda passed before Chicken George. George died at the age of 83.
Tom and Irene prospered. Their youngest daughter Cynthia married Will Palmer, who came to own the town's lumber mill. They had a daughter named Bertha.
Bertha attended Lane College where she met and married Simon Alexander Haley. In 1921 they has a son named Alex.
Alex Hayley says that he is the seventh generation descendant of Kunta Kinte. He remembered all those wonderful family tales that his Grandmother Cynthia told him. In 1963, after retiring from the US Coast Guard, he became obsessed with his family and its history. He did twelve years of research for the book.
Good historical mini-series. It was an historical event in and of itself because of all the attention it garnered. Roots received 36 Emmy Award nominations, won nine Emmys, a Golden Globe and a Peabody Award. It also had unprecedented Nielsen ratings. The last show of the series had the third-highest rated U.S. television program ever. The story covers a lot of important history seen more from a black point of view. It starts in Africa with slave catching, goes through the ante-bellum years in the south, goes through the Civil War period and on into Reconstruction. It follows the history of the Alex Hayley family starting with the free man Kunta Kinte, who was enslaved and brought to Annapolis, Maryland. The movie shows some of the impact of some very horrendous history on its black victims. This is probably why the mini-series caught the nation's interest so. A white-washing of the story would not have made for a controversial story that would prove captivating.
There were a lot of good actors in the film, both white and black. LeVar Burton as Kunta Kinte received a lot of praise for his performance.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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