"Chicken" George Lea (Moore in the miniseries) (1806-1890) was the grandson of Kunta Kinte and Belle Waller, and son of Kizzy Kinte. He is also the great-great-grandfather of Alex Haley. He is best known for his colorful personality, green scarf and black derby hat with rooster feathers.
George was born into slavery on the winter of 1806 in Caswell, North Carolina to Kizzy and their master, Tom Lea (Moore in the miniseries). He was conceived when his mother was repeatedly raped by her new master after her arrival on Lea Plantation from Virginia. Even though Kizzy rejected George at first, his mother still raised him with love. George grows up not knowing Tom Moore has sired him. When George asked his mother about his father, Kizzy told him the story of his African grandfather, Kunta Knite. At age six, George started as a field hand at the fields, which he disliked; however his fun personality and mimicry skills impressed Massa Lea that he positioned George as a performer for his family, friends and guests at his house. Meanwhile, George started to visit to the mysterious Uncle Mingo's place, where the latter fights and trains chickens for Massa Moore. Sister Sarah told Kizzy through fortune telling that her son would grow up to be somebody.
At age 12, Massa Lea moved George from his mother's cabin to live at Uncle Mingo's to take care of Moore's chickens. Around age 14 or 15, George started to travel with Massa Moore and Mingo, where he won in his first cockfight. At age 18, Massa Lea positions George as the new head trainer for cock fighting as he sees George's potentials to bring him wealth and fame. Uncle Mingo gives George his black derby hat with rooster feathers. He earns the nickname "Chicken George" for his colorful, flamboyant personality and his amazing cock fighting skills. Although he was a ladies man, he met his future wife Matilda, a strong faithful Christian slave who once preached the gospel at freed blacks which scared them off where they were partying. They married and have eight children, including Tom Murray/Harvey.
Chicken George, the No. #1 Cock fighterEdit
Now a successful and number one cock fighter of Caswell County, Chicken George traveled across the southern states of America with Tom Moore, winning most prize money from cockfights. Due to George's amazing skills in cockfighting, he and Master Moore became best friends.
Nat Turner's RebellionEdit
One day, after winning a match in cockfights, George had a conversion with former slave about freedom, the latter told George that being free is better than everything. On their way back home, Chicken George driving while Master Moore sleeping in the back of the wagon, were confronted by three aristocrats. They asked George if he knows about a slave named Nat Turner and threatened to kill him if he does, George replied he didn't know anything about Turner's rebellion. He was luckily saved by his master, whom the aristocrats insulted for being drunk. When they came back to the plantation, Missus Moore, scared and paranoid, fired shots at George (one of them hits George in the right arm) after she thought he killed her husband. Kizzy warns "Chicken" George that he couldn't trust Tom Moore as his friend because he is a "toubob." George says Kizzy that Massa Moore is his friend, however Massa Moore came to the George's family cabin with a shotgun threatened the family that if he see any rebellion from the slaves, he would shoot them then orders them retrieve everything to the Big House. This caused George to figure a way to buy freedom for his family and himself. It went back to normal after Nate Turner was caught and hanged to death. George and Matilda discovered a dead remnant of Turner, Maltilda asked George why the dead remnant is smiling.
Shocking Truth and BetrayalEdit
On his way to visit Tom Moore, Squire James sees George and his wife Matilda picking cotton. James says to George that he and Sir Eric Russell issue a challenge to Tom Moore in cockfighting and he also says that he would buy George to train other cock fighters and would gives George his freedom in five years, however Master Moore didn't let Squire James to buy George. Angered and betrayed by Tom Moore for denying his freedom, George picked up a gun from a dead remnant of Nate Turner to kill Tom Moore, but Kizzy prevented him by revealing that Tom Moore was his father. Later, George confronted his father, saying how could Moore denied his chances of being free. Master Moore replies that he has twenty others slave children besides George. When George told Moore that he wasn't fighting his chickens anymore, Master Moore threats George that he would sell George's son, Tom, or Matilda which gives George no choice but to continue cockfighting for Master Moore.
Fight against Sir Russell; Heading to EnglandEdit
Before their match (which would their last match together) against Squire James and Sir Eric Russell, Master Moore promises George that he would give his freedom if they win their match against Sir Russell. Back on good terms with Tom Moore, their chickens fights Sir Russell's chickens. During break, Tom Moore betted high with $20,000 against Sir Russell, Russell accepts, however one of Tom Moore's chicken lost to Russell's chicken. Tom Moore lends Chicken George to Sir Russell in order to paid the debts. Before he heads off to England to train other cock fighters, George encouraged his family to stay strong and told the story of the African, known as Kunta Knite, his grandfather.
Return to America as a FreedmanEdit
Chicken George came back from England only to find out that his family (excepts Kizzy) were sold off to Murray/Harvey's Plantation in Alamance County. He visits Tom Moore for one last time, Tom Moore told George that his mother, Kizzy, have passed away. Chicken George reminded Tom about the promise Tom Moore that made of George's freedom. Although Master Moore tried to persuade George to fight chickens for his father again, but Tom Moore kept his words; however in the novel, Massa Lea did not kept his words to George which led George outsmarted his father into drunken stupor. George received his emancipation paper, then left the Moore Plantation for the search of his family. Chicken George reunites his family however due to a law that if any free man stay sixty days in a slave state, he/she will return as a slave. Before he heads off to Canada, Chicken George had a conversation with his son, Tom Murray/Harvey about the stories of himself, his mother Kizzy, and his grandfather Kunta Knite. After the Civil War and slavey ended in 1865, Chicken George reunited his family. Chicken George and his family devised a plan to scare Evan Brent who have been terrorizing the family before and after slavery ended. When they had Evan tied to a tree and almost whipped him, George told him that he tries to threaten his family again he would kill him. Then, George and the family left North Carolina to start a new life at Henning, Tennesse. During their trip, Matilda told her hubsand that his mother, Kizzy and his grandfather, Kunta Kinte, are smiling above from the heavens.
The family landed on Henning, Tennessee and founded the New Hope Church. His wife, Matilda died in 1883 after an arguement between her son, Tom, and his daughter, Elizabeth. George became depressed after his wife's death. Chicken George was badly burned and died in a fire accident in 1890.
- "Chicken" George was portrayed in 1977 television miniseries, Roots, by multi-talent actor, Ben Vereen, and Ave Long in 1979's Roots: The Next Generation.
- He became the first member of the Kinte family to earn his freedom.