Kizzy (1790-1861) is the daughter of Kunta Kinte and Belle Reynolds/Waller. At sixteen, she was sold to another plantation and bear her new master's son, "Chicken" George Moore/Lea. She is the great-great-great-grandmother of Alex Haley.
Childhood and Life at Reynolds/Waller Plantation (1790-1806)Edit
Kizzy was born into slavery on September 12, 1790 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia on the Reynolds Waller Plantation to Kunta Kinte (now Toby) and his wife, Bell Reynolds. Kunta chooses the name "Kizzy," which means in Mandinka means "stay put." Just as his own father, Omoro Kinte, had done with him back in Africa, Kunta takes the infant Kizzy out to perform the Africans' ritual custom of birth, holding the naked baby up high under a starry sky, saying, "Behold, the only thing greater than yourself." The rest of Kizzy's childhood is never shown in the series, but it is indicated that her father raised her with the customs of his people.
Kizzy grows up happily on the Reynolds/Waller Plantation, trained as a house slave/personal maid, and best friends with Master Reynolds' niece, Missy Anne. As children, Missy Anne and Kizzy play 'school,' where Missy Anne secretly teaches Kizzy to read and write. Kizzy is once caught reading out loud to Missy Anne, but Missy Anne covers for her, saying that Kizzy was just pretending to read to amuse Missy Anne. Thinking it will impress her mother, Kizzy writes in the dirt to show her mother that she can write. Belle becomes furious, slapping Kizzy and q quickly wiping away the writing, warning her daughter that a slave being able to read or write will quickly be sold away.When she is sixteen, Kizzy falls in love with a field hand, Noah, the son of Ada, also a field hand. Noah desperately wants to escape the plantation and asks Kunta for his advice (as Kunta had made repeated attempts to escape, before being maimed by slave catchers.) Being in love with Noah, Kizzy tries to talk him out of going, warning him what patrollers do to runaways, but he will not be swayed. Unbeknownst to Kunta, Kizzy helps Noah escape by using her secret ability to write to forge a traveling pass for Noah. Noah escapes into the night, but after a week on the run, he is caught by slave catchers and dragged back to the plantation, to the horror of Kizzy and the other slaves. The exhausted Noah is taken into the barn and whipped until he finally reveals it was Kizzy who forged his traveling pass. The near-dead Noah is then sold off. Despite the desperate pleas of Kunta and Belle, Kizzy is sold off to Tom Moore of Caswell County, North Carolina. Kizzy begins screaming for her parents and Missy Anne to help her. When Kunta and Belle hear Kizzy's anguished screams, they run out of the house to see her being forcibly driven away, while they are kept back from reaching her. Missy Anne, hearing the commotion, looks out through her window at the scene below. After watching for a moment, she turns away and closes the shutters, doing nothing to help Kizzy. Kizzy is driven away from the plantation crying and screaming for help.
Later Years at Moore/Lea Plantation (1806-1861)Edit
Upon Kizzy's arrival at the Moore plantation, demoted now to a field hand, she was savagely and repeatedly raped by her new master, Tom Moore, producing a son, George, who grows up not knowing Tom Moore has sired him. She once swore that one day her son would kill Tom Moore for the abuse and rapes she suffered by the hands of her master, but she have stopped thinking about it and wants her son grows up.
Kizzy, aged 34, now a field hand, meets Sam, the slave of another plantation owner who is visiting the Moore plantation. Sam is immediately smitten with Kizzy, but she dislikes his arrogance and ignores him. After a while, she warms to him and they begin a relationship. Sam receives permission to marry Kizzy, but a drunken Tom Moore comes to Kizzy's cabin and she is forced to let him have sex with her again. Sam sees Moore go into Kizzy's cabin, but does not interfere. Later, she finds out Sam knew of Moore's visit and is angry that he did nothing to try to stop it.
Sam gets permission to drive Kizzy to the plantation where she grew up to visit her parents. When they arrive, Kizzy is heartbroken to learn her parents have died. Kizzy goes to the plantation graveyard and sees "Toby" written on her father's grave marker. She weeps beside his grave, then angrily picks up a rock, using it to defiantly scratch out "Toby" and write "Kunta Kinte."
Sam and Kizzy returned late to the Moore plantation, Sam's furious owner threatens to sell Sam away which caused Sam cowers and pleads for forgiveness. Kizzy witnesses this and is disgusted by Sam's easy acceptance of his status of slave. Later, when Sam goes to Kizzy's cabin, she tells him she can not marry him because he is too accepting of being a slave. Sam leaves, heartbroken.
During the time of Nat Turner's rebellion, Kizzy, aged 51, warns "Chicken" George that he can't trust Tom Moore as his friend because he is a "toubob," which prove true when 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 and then orders them retrieve everything to the Big House. When George was betrayed by Tom Moore for denying his freedom, he was about to kill the master, but Kizzy prevented him by revealing him that Tom Moore was his father.
In her later years, she and Missy Anne cross paths again when Missy Anne's carriage stops at the Moore plantation and Missy Anne commands a cup of water from Kizzy. An aged Missy Anne does not recognize Kizzy until Kizzy reveals her identity to her. Missy Anne pretends not to know Kizzy, who turns her back and angrily spits in the cup of water she then gives to Missy Anne. Kizzy continues to live with her son's family until they were sold off to another plantation at Alamance County before her death at around age 71.
- She was portrayed in 1977 television mini-series, Roots, by actress/singer, Leslie Uggams.
- In the novel, her slave surnames were Waller and Lea, while in the television series were Reynolds and Moore; both respectively her masters, Dr. William Reynolds/Waller and Tom Lea/Moore.
- Her second lover, Sam Bennett, was fictional character in the miniseries.