Alex Haley, Family & Heritage
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial commemorates the place of arrival of Alex Haley’s African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, to the New World, as told in the book Roots. It is located in Annapolis, Maryland at the head of the City’s harbor.
This Memorial is the only memorial in the United States that commemorates the actual name and place of arrival of an enslaved African. It portrays in word and symbol Alex Haley’s vision for national racial reconciliation and healing, and symbolizes in Kunta Kinte and his descendants the triumph of the human spirit in very difficult times.
The Memorial includes a sculpture group of a seated Alex Haley reading from a book on his lap to three children of different ethnic backgrounds.
As he stretches his hand toward the Chesapeake Bay, he tells his family’s story and the story of the Annapolis port, a symbolic Ellis Island for African Americans.
Phase I of the Memorial construction was completed in 1997. It includes a ramp, foundation for the sculpture, and installation of a pedestal for the original commemorative bronze plaque dedicated to Kunta Kinte and his ancestors in 1981. Phase II, the sculpture group, was unveiled and dedicated on December 9, 1999.
Phase III, the final phase, was dedicated in the spring of 2002. It consists of an inlaid granite and bronze 14-foot diameter compass rose, special seating and lighting, a “Story Wall” with 10 bronze engraved plaques, web cameras, and an informational kiosk.
In an area currently visited by nearly a million people a year, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial is envisioned as being the catalyst and focal point for renewed interest in genealogy, history, and the arts.