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Kizzy Kinte

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KizzyEdit

Kizzy (1790-1861) is the daughter of Kunta Kinte and Belle Reynolds/Waller. At sixteen, she was sold to another plantation and bore her new master's son, "Chicken" George. She is the great-great-great-grandmother of Alex Haley. She used to play school with a white girl named Missy Anne. She learned how to read and write.

Childhood and Teenage Life at Reynolds (1790-1806)Edit

Childhood

Kizzy was the first generation of the Kinte family to be born into slavery on September 12, 1790 in Spotsylvania County, Virginia  on the Reynolds Waller Plantation to Kunta Kinte and his wife, Bell Reynolds. Kunta chooses the name "Kizzy," which means "stay put" in Mandika. 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 Life Kizzy was enslaved and raped by a white man and she was taken away from her family and she was sold to another slave masterEdit

1

The young Kizzy.

Kizzy grows up 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
Edit

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 she overheard about what patrolers do to runaways 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 catchers for him to reach North.

Kizzy-being-sold

Kizzy is sold away from her parents.

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

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 Kunta and Bell to come at the big house where he reveals the fake traveling pass 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 are 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 to her room while Dr. Reynolds is shocked and disappointed by his niece's behavior and comment. After being sold, Kizzy would never see her parents again.

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

An Abuse and Impregnation at the hands of Tom LeaEdit

Upon Kizzy's arrival at the Lea plantation, Kizzy has drastic turn from living a comfortable 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 Lea. On her first morning after her arrival on the Lea 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 Lea for the abuses she suffered by the hands of her master. Afterwards, Kizzy gives birth to George. Her son grows up not knowing Tom Lea 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 begin 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 Lea

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 begins 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 lites up a candle, she saw Massa Moore come to her cabin and is not pleased as she fears the master came to use her once again. Moore orders her to have sex with him, but he is angered when she tells him "no". She then pleads with the master that she didn't want to do it with him because she's going to marry Sam in a short while. Moore replied that he knows about the impending marriage and agrees to her upcoming wedding. He is seemingly jealous, but does not care as he backhands Kizzy. After he orders Kizzy to take his boots off. Kizzy does as she is told and 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 beside him before he died, then she promises her father that she will 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 caused Kizzy to seem suspicious about her fiancee.

We're Too DifferentEdit

When Sam and Kizzy returned late to the Moore plantation, Sam's owner, furious by his tardiness, threatens to send Sam back into the fields and to not buy Kizzy, which causes Sam to cower on his kness and plead for forgiveness. Kizzy witnesses Sam's easy acceptance of his status of slave and is both heartbroken and disgusted by it. Sam later finds Kizzy in her cabin and seeing her unpacked wonders why. Kizzy tells Sam she can not marry him because they were too different, despite Sam being a good man who gave her more joy in a week than she had ever had in her whole life. Confused and disappointed, Sam asks Kizzy if she thinks she's better than he is, and revealed that he knew Massa Moore was in her cabin the night before. Kizzy is angry that Sam knew of her abuse and did nothing to try to stop it. Kizzy angrily tells Sam that master Moore can take her body but he could never touch her soul. Kizzy tells Sam of her dreams of being a free woman and admonishes Sam for selling his soul for free. Sam tells Kizzy that he too dreams, just not big as she does. Sam leaves, heartbroken.

A New HopeEdit

The next morning, her son George was about to tell his mother about his new position as the new head gamecock trainer, when he notices Sam leaving the plantation alone with his master. He asked why his mother didn't decide to marry him, Kizzy replied that Sam was different from them because no one told him about his ancestry --- who he was nor what dreams Sam sought. Kizzy is not impressed when George tells her about his new position, but she is antonished when he tells her about making a name of himself by using game cocking as a way towards freedom and that he'll be marrying Matilda. Kizzy was happy for her son, but she warns George to not trust Massa Moore as she knows that the master is 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". She tells him about 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 to shoot them if he sees any sign of rebellion from the slaves. After the master leaves, Kizzy tells George that no matter who they are, they are all "toubob." After a while, Nat Turner and his group would end up getting caught and killed.

A Shocking RevelationEdit

When Chicken George is betrayed and angered by Tom Moore who denies his freedom, he steals the gun from a dead remnant to kill the master. Kizzy catches up to him and tries to plead to George to think about his family, but it is futile as George responds they have no hope as along as Massa Moore is still breathing. To prevent Chicken George from killing the master as 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 is his father and he was a product of her rape by Moore. Afterwards, George and Massa Moore would later lose 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 tells the story of her father, Kunta Kinte, 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 demands 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 are 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.

LegacyEdit

Kizzy carried the life, knowledge, and dreams of freedom of her father, Kunta Kinte, and she passes it on to her son and her descendants. Kizzy knows her father's legacy lives on. Kizzy was a strong person as she had the blood of her father Kunta Kinte the Warrior live inside her

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 acknowledge 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.

TriviaEdit

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

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