Characters in Roots

  • Kunta Kinte – original protagonist: a young man of the Mandinka people, grows up in the Gambia in a small village called Juffure; he was raised as a Muslim before being captured and enslaved. Renamed Toby.
  • John Waller – planter, who buys Kunta
  • Dr. William Waller – doctor of medicine and John's brother: buys Kunta from him
  • Bell Waller – cook to the doctor and wife of Kunta
  • Kizzy Waller (later Kizzy Lea) – daughter of Kunta and Bell
  • Missy Anne – Dr. Waller's niece, who lives off the plantation, but visits Dr Waller regularly. She befriends Kizzy and teaches her reading and writing by playing "school".
  • Tom Lea – slave owner in North Carolina to whom Kizzy is sold
  • George Lea – son to Kizzy and Tom Lea, he is called "Chicken George"
  • Matilda – whom George later marries
  • Tom Murray – son of Chicken George and Matilda
  • Cynthia – the youngest of Tom's and Irene's eight children (granddaughter of Chicken George)
  • Bertha – one of Cynthia's children; the mother of Alex Haley
  • Simon Alexander Haley – professor and husband of Bertha; father of Alex Haley
  • Alex Haley – author of the book and central character for last 30 pages; allegedly the great-great-great-great-grandson of Kunta Kinte.

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