Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 65 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 65 Summary

Master William Waller approves the marriage of Kunta and Bell, and preparations begin for the Sunday before Christmas. Even little Missy Anne gets excited and shouts it all over the plantation when she hears that Bell is getting married. Everyone wishes Kunta and Bell congratulations over the coming weeks. Finally, the day arrives. Even Kunta’s previous master, John Waller, and his wife attend with Missy Anne. There is another person who arrives from Enfield, though, who is the guest of honor in Kunta's eyes: Boteng Bediako, the qua-qua drummer from Ghana.

With everyone gathered around the garden, the laundry woman of the Waller Plantation, Sukey, begins the ceremony. Sukey’s words echo the usual wedding ceremony but include prayers that the two never get sold away from each other and that the two have good and healthy children. Suddenly, Sukey places the broom on the ground and motions for Kunta and Bell to link arms. Kunta panics for a moment, hoping that Allah will forgive him for participating in this pagan ceremony and again feeling foolish doing something like this on such a solemn occasion. Sukey asks both of them if they want to get married. After both answer in the affirmative, Sukey proclaims: “Den, in the eyes of Jesus, y’all jump into the holy lan’ of matrimony.”

The two jump over the broom and everyone claps and cheers. Before Sukey walks away, though, she looks at Kunta and asks the couple to be faithful to each other and always be “good Christians.” William Waller says a few words and then leaves the slaves to continue the celebration how they see fit. There is a big feast that Kunta enjoys, although he wishes that people wouldn’t have so much wine (including Bell).

Kunta finds himself actually enjoying life on the plantation with Bell beside him in the nicest slave cabin. Kunta now gets to sleep on a cotton mattress with sheets. His clothes are well tended to by Bell, who washes and irons them every day. She even softens his leather shoes with tallow once in a while and knits him more socks. Bell always makes sure that Kunta has a warm meal every night when he returns from driving and, most importantly, that Kunta has alone time when he needs it. Kunta is shocked that life could be so much better only a few feet away from where he lived previously.