Roots: The Complete Miniseries

Season 1 Episode 2

Part 2

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Jan 24, 1977 on ABC
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Episode Summary

Part 2

A revolt of the captive Africans during their voyage to America fails despite the deaths of the ship's first officer and many of the ship's crew. Upon their arrival in Annapolis, Maryland after the harrowing 3 month journey across the Atlantic Ocean, the survivors are cleaned up and are taken away for auction. Kunta Kinte is eventually sold to the Reynolds plantation in Spotsylvania, Virginia, where he befriends an American-born slave named Fiddler.


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  • An Attempted Uprising,and Escape Plan

    Kunta Kinte,and the other Africans are chained below the ship.Kunta has hope that their Fellow Warriors will rescue them.The Wrestler,one of Kunta's fellow Africans tells Kunta that there is not a chance of their tribesmen coming for them.Because they have been at Sea for several Days,it is unlikely.The Wrestler however informs Kunta that their are others oof their fellow Tribesmen that understands the situation,and proceed to communicate with them,though they do not speak the language."Men chained together are brothers",says the Wrestler.The plan will be to strike at the slavers,and the crew,when the signal is given.When Kunta,and the others are brought above deck they await the signal,and then they strike. They manage to get the key to unlock their chains,and attack the crew.Afew of the Africans are shot dead.The Wrestler physically throws afew of the crew overboard,and is about to attack the captain.The Captain pulls his pistol out to fire,but Kunta throws a long knife at the Captain hitting him dead on.A momentary victory.The Ships Cannon is fired hitting the Wrestler,killing him,and several others.Kunta,and the the other Africans survive dazed,and alive.This attempted uprising is one of many examples of how the Africans fought against their enslavement.I do not know how many Africans,resisted in the centuries passed.Today,if any people are forcibly enslaved,may they do whatever they can to fight against it.moreless
  • The horrors of the middle passage....

    In an installment that graphically shows a part of the African slave trade that has never before been shown in a semi-fictional setting- this part spends a significant amount of time reproducing the deplorable conditions that the African captives faced on what is called the "middle passage", or the 3 month trip across the Atlantic Ocean to North America. This is no "Ben Hur" nonsense. These are men and women laying in their own feces and vomit chained on their backs in the hold of a clipper ship. Even more revealing (for a change) is the plot clearly showing the hurdles faced by throwing different African ethnic groups and language groups together (again, something rarely discussed as it seemed to be assumed that all Africans are the same and spoke the same language) and how that could be overcome to attempt to escape - something usually forgotten in the history books of that time and before. Only more recently have dramas of ship revolts, like the Spielberg film "Armistad", shown such since this miniseries. And just like it was shown in the previous part that Africans participated in slave-catching and selling, so too must the captives be shown to not happily accept their condition.

    The filming done on the ship gave a sense of immediacy and scale that shied away from sugar-coating the experience - at least as much as possible for something aired on network television. And this attempt at accuracy continued through to the time of the ship's arrival in America and the auction process (and how those who survived were artificially cleaned to hide their wounds to ensure top dollar for sale).

    A truly gut-wrenching episode to watch but historically important to show - even if it is a Hollywood production.moreless
Edward Asner

Edward Asner

Captain Thomas Davies

Guest Star

Louis Gossett Jr.

Louis Gossett Jr.


Guest Star

Lorne Greene

Lorne Greene

John Reynolds

Guest Star

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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (4)

    • Kunta Kinte: I'm a Mandinka warrior!
      Fiddler: (at a horse) Horse! I hear tell that you ain't a horse at all. I hear tell that you think you a mighty crow! I hear tell that you fly from here 'bouts all the way to Annapolis and back again. Now horse... you look mighty like a horse to me. And you sure smells mighty like a horse. So I'm saying to you, that horse! What you think you is don't matter a damn bit!

    • Fiddler: (tearfully ministering to Kunta after his near-fatal whipping) There gonna be another day. You hear me? There gonna be another day!

    • Fiddler: (musing to himself after Kunta Kinte escapes from the plantation) What it like to be free, African? What it like? Must be somethin' special.

    • Fiddler: (to Kunta Kinte) Now don't you make no trouble now. Ain't gonna hurt you. You just stay quiet now. You belongs to Massa Reynolds now, that's all there is to it. There ain't no more in Africa, Guinea man. Now you listen to ole Fiddler if you wants to keep alive. You in America now.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Ernest Kinoy and William Blinn won an Emmy in 1977 for "Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series" for their writing credit for Part 2 of Roots.

    • Lou Gossett, Jr. won an Emmy in 1977 for "Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series" for his role as "Fiddler" in Part 2 of Roots.

    • LeVar Burton has noted that it took 2 takes, done 3 days apart, to film the final version of the whip scene where his character Kunte Kinte was strung up with a rope and whipped in order to force him to say his new name "Toby". This was because during the initial take, he would instinctively flinch each time the whip was about to make contact. After spending time with the expert whip handler and observing some of the handler's show performances, they were finally able to successfully film what would become the final cut of the scene.