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Kizzy Kinte

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Kizzy (1790-1861) is the daughter of Kunta Kinte and Belle Reynolds/Waller. At sixteen, she was sold to another plantation and beared her new master's son, "Chicken" George. She is the great-great-great-grandmother of Alex Haley.

Childhood and Teenage Life at Reynolds (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.

Teenage LifeEdit


The young Kizzy.

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 quickly wiping away the writing, warning her daughter that a slave being able to read or write will quickly be sold away.

Toby and Kizzy

Kizzy with her father, Toby.

Aiding her Boyfriend's Attempted Escape

When she is sixteen, Kizzy falls in love with a field hand, Noah, the son of Ada, another 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 from what she heard between Master Reynolds and a visitor, 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. Noah then escapes into the night, Kizzy prays to Jesus to protect Noah from the slave cathers for him to reach North.


Kizzy is sold away from her parents.

A Friend's Betrayal and Being Sold Off the Reynolds Plantation

After one week on the run, Noah is caught by slave catchers and dragged back to the plantation by the overseer Ordell, to the horror of Kizzy, her parents, Noah's mom, Ada, 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. Master Reynolds orders to Kunta and Bell to come at the big house where he reveal the fake traveling forged by their only daughter. Despite the desperate pleas of Kunta and Belle, Kizzy is sold off to a gamecock fighter named 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 taken onto the wagon by Ordell. They are kept back from reaching her by gunpoint as they forced to watch their daughter driven off the plantation. 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 and does nothing to help Kizzy, thus breaking her promise to save Kizzy and betraying her trust. As Kizzy is driven away from the plantation crying and screaming for help, Missy Anne later told her uncle that Kizzy was just the same like other typical black slaves and then skipped heading her room while Dr. Reynolds is shocked and disappointed by his daughter's behavior and comment. After she was sold, Kizzy would never see her parents again after that tragedy.

Later Years at Moore Plantation, the Matriarch of the Family (1806-1861)Edit

An Abuse and Impregnation at the hands of Tom MooreEdit

Upon Kizzy's arrival at the Moore plantation, Kizzy has drastic turn from living a comfort life as a housemaid to a harsh life as a field hand. Since her first night, Kizzy was savagely and repeatedly raped by her new master, Tom Moore. On her first morning after her arrival on the Moore Plantation, Kizzy was nursed by the master's cook named Malizy who took care of her injuries caused by the master. Kizzy, who was sweet and innocent, angrily swore to Malizy that when she has her baby, he going be a boy and when he grows up to an adult, he would avenge her by killing Massa Moore for the abuses she suffered by the hands of her master. Afterwards, Kizzy gives birth to George. Her son grows up not knowing Tom Moore has sired him as Kizzy keep the secrets from him. She used to pray that her son would grow up to kill the master, but as she grew older, Kizzy, gave up thinking about it and wants her son to live a happy life that she once had. She would began tell her son about her African father, his native words he passed on to her, and his and her desires of being free to George, making his image and idolized his grandfather, instead of Tom Moore.

A Courtship with the fancy driver, Sam BennettEdit

In 1824, Kizzy, aged 34, now a field hand, meets Sam Bennett, a slave and driver 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 up to him and they begin a relationship. One night, after feeding Sam a meal, he asked her to "fetch" some water. Hearing this, Kizzy got water- but instead giving to him, Kizzy threw the water at Sam which angers him. He demands to know why she did that. She replied to Sam that he should never say "fetch" to her because she suffers too much due to slavery. After they reconciled, Kizzy began to burst into tears admitting to Sam that she was bitter and lonely. She told him that she lost everybody when her first love Noah was sold away, and then when the whites took her away from her parents. In order to make her happy and not feel lonely again, Sam planned to marry Kizzy and afterwards made love to her. The next day, her son George talked to Kizzy about how he disproves of his mother's courtship with Sam. Sam told George that he received the permission to marry Kizzy. While still making her decision, Kizzy tells George that he needs her to stay, but her son finally agrees and tells his mother that he appreciates all the love she could give while raising him and now it's time for Kizzy to be happy. After hearing this, Kizzy tearfully embraced her son and decided to marry Sam. 

Unexpected VisitEdit

Later that night after a conversation with Sam's master about how George is valuable to be sold, a drunken Massa Tom Moore left his house to visit Kizzy. Sam sees Moore heading to Kizzy's cabin, but he did not interfere. As Kizzy lit up a candle, she saw Massa Moore comes to her cabin and not pleased as she fears the master came to use her once again. Moore orders her to have sex with him, but angered when she told him "no," then she pleas the master that she didn't want to do with him because she's going to marry Sam in a short while. Moore replied that he knows about and agrees to her upcoming wedding and seemily jealous, but does not care as he backslapped Kizzy. After he ordered Kizzy to take his boots off, Kizzy do she was told as she is forced to let Tom Moore have sex with her again.

A Daughter's PromisesEdit

Sam gets permission to drive Kizzy to the Reynolds' plantation where she grew up to visit her parents. When they arrive, Kizzy is heartbroken to learn that her mother, Bell, had been sold off to a traveling slave trader and her father, Kunta, had died alone two years prior to her return. Kizzy goes to the plantation graveyard and sees "Toby" written on her father's grave marker. She weeps beside his grave, telling she sorry for not being there besides him before he died, then she promised her father that she going teach her children and their descendants, she also tells him that one day they are going to be free and that his dream won't die. Afterwords, Kizzy angrily picks up a rock, using it to defiantly scratch out "Toby" and write "Kunta Kinte," and then left. After leaving the Reynolds Plantation, Sam tells Kizzy that she would once again work at the big house, but she has to lose the sassiness while working there which it caused Kizzy to seem suspicious about her fiancee.

We're Too DifferentEdit

Sam and Kizzy returned late to the Moore plantation, Sam's furious owner threatens to send Sam back into fields and to not buy Kizzy which caused Sam cowers on his kness and pleads for forgiveness. Kizzy witnesses this and is disgusted by Sam's easy acceptance of his status of slave, tearfully heads back to her cabin. Then, when Sam enters to Kizzy's cabin, he wonders why she hasn't pack her stuff. Kizzy tells Sam she can not marry him because they were too different despite Sam being a good man who made her life filled with more joy in a week than her whole life. Confused and dissaponited, Sam questions Kizzy if she's thinks she better than him and told Kizzy that he knew Massa Moore was in her cabin the night before. Kizzy finds out Sam knew of Moore's visit and is angry that he did nothing to try to stop it and yells that he could done something about it. Kizzy, angered in tears, told Sam that the master can take her body, but cannot touch her spirit and her dream of being a freed woman while Sam sold his soul for free. Sam tells Kizzy that he does dreams, but not big as hers. Later Sam leaves, heartbroken.

A New HopeEdit

The next morning, her son George was about to tells his mother about his new position as the new head gamecock trainer, he notices Sam leaving the plantation alone with his master. He asked why his mother didn't decides to marry him, Kizzy replied that Sam was different from them and nobody told him about his ancestry, who he was nor what dreams Sam sought for. Kizzy was not expressed when George told her about his new position, but she became antonished when George tells her about making a name of himself by using gamecocking as a way towards freedom and also, he'll be marrying Matilda. Kizzy gladily happy for her son, but she warns George to not trust Massa Moore as she knows that the master using her son to make him rich; however, George tells Kizzy that Moore is like a fatherly figure to him.

Can't Trust a "Toubob"Edit

In 1841, during the time of Nat Turner's rebellion, Kizzy, aged 51, now a grandmother of two, warns George, who earned the nickname "Chicken George," and has a successful career of cockfighting, that he can't trust Massa Moore as his friend because he is a "toubob," and told him a white woman named Missy Anne who used to be her best friend, but when Kizzy needed her the most Anne turned her back on her. This proves true when Master Moore bursts into George's family cabin with a shotgun, threatening the family that if he sees any rebellion from the slaves, claiming would shoot them and then orders them retrieve everything to the Big House. After the master left, Kizzy told George that no matter who they are, they all be "toubob." After while, Nat Turner and his group would end up get caught and killed.

A Shocking RevelationEdit

When Chicken George was betrayed and angered by Tom Moore for denying his freedom, he stole the gun from a dead remnant to kill the master. Kizzy catch up to him alone and tried to plead to George to think about his family, but it was futile as George said they have no hope as alongs Massa Moore still breathing. To prevent Chicken George from killing the master and the consequences for a slave killing a white man would result in death, Kizzy finally prevents George by revealing her secrets to him that Tom Moore was his father and he was a product of her rape by Moore. Afterwards, George and Massa Moore would later lost a big bet of $20,000 in a big gamecock fight against Sir Eric Russell which forced Moore to settle the debts by sending Chicken George to England with Sir Russell to train other gamecock trainers. As her son is heading to England, Kizzy told him to tell the story of her father, the African, to his children.

A long-waited revenge in a cup of waterEdit

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. Afterwards, Kizzy continues to live with her son's family until they were sold off to another plantation at Alamance County before she dies in spring of 1861, two months before her son, Chicken George, returned and received his freedom from Massa Moore.


Kizzy carried the life, knowledge, and dreams of freedom of her father, Kunta Kinte, and she pass it on to her son and her descendants.

Miniseries/Novel DifferencesEdit

  • 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 Waller/Reynolds and Tom Lea/Moore.
  • In the novel, the day Kizzy was sold, she was working alongside her mother in the big house in the morning before Massa Waller and the sheriff came to confront Kizzy about her aid in Noah's attempts to escape and after she admitted the sheriff took her out of the plantation. the miniseries, the overseer took Kizzy out of her cabin while her parents were summoned to the big house to keep them from interfering.
  • In the novel, Missy Anne and Kizzy's friendship drifted apart when Anne did not knowledge twelve-year-old Kizzy in front of her friends at her sixteenth birthday party. In the miniseries, Missy Anne promised Kizzy that she would protect her always and when Kizzy plead Anne to save her from being sold away, Anne betrayed Kizzy and stood watching her being taken.
  • In the novel, Kizzy never swore nor prayed for Massa Lea to be killed despite his repetitive abuses against her; while in the miniseries she wants vengeance against Massa Moore by having Chicken George killing him when she was young.
  • Her second lover, Sam Bennett, was only a fictional character in the miniseries as he was created to comfort Kizzy; while in the novel, Kizzy did not have another lover.
  • In the miniseries, Kizzy encounter Missy Anne in her last years and after Anne pretend of not knowing a slave named Kizzy, Kizzy got her revenge by spitting into a cup of water while Anne wasn't watching; while in the novel, Kizzy never sees Missy Anne again after she was taken off her uncle's plantation.


  • She was portrayed in 1977 television mini-series, Roots, by actress/singer, Leslie Uggams.
  • Kizzy was the only member of her family to born and die as a slave.

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