Make Kunta Kinte’s burial site a mecca
7/2/2020, 6 p.m.
In a 1965 edition of Collier’s Encyclopedia, an account of the arrival of the first enslaved people in Virginia was offered thusly, supposedly by someone who was there: “About the last of August came in a Dutch man of warre that sold us 20 negars.”
That’s markedly different from the way I usually see it portrayed.
Kunta Kinte supposedly is buried somewhere in Spotsylvania County, Va. Alex Haley’s realistic portrayal of the ocean crossing in his book, “Roots,” is an agonizing read and a reason for reparations
in and of itself. In the book, Fiddler mentions an uprising in New Wales, Hanover County, Va., which occurred right around the time of the Haitian uprising and which sent the white people into a state of panic and reprisal. I had never heard of it.
We should locate Kunta Kinte’s burial ground and make it a mecca for all truly proud black people to pay homage to his story, told so articulately by his descendants and giving all of us a glimpse at that shared, sacred narrative.
Alex Haley did the research to bring this story to life. The manifest of the ship Lord Ligonier, which brought Kunta Kinte to Annapolis, Md., detailed 140 captives on board at the time of departure from Gambia. Only 98 arrived in Maryland. Multiply that by tens of thousands of such voyages.
Shame on the so-called “royal families” of England, Spain, etc. They started that mess.
BERNARD A. GORDON