Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 91 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 91 Summary

One Sunday, George takes his weekly trip to slave row and discovers almost immediately that something isn’t right. Sure enough, Kizzy grabs George and yanks him inside the cabin. Seeing George’s confusion, Kizzy explains about another slave uprising, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. Supposedly a black man named Denmark Vesey convinced hundreds of blacks to kill any white they saw on that very Sunday night. A few black slaves told their masters about the attack and stopped the entire thing cold. However, Tom Lea goes off immediately to a big meeting about this issue, while Mrs. Lea points the shotgun at anyone who moves. In fact, Kizzy is so worried about George getting caught away from the chickens that she shoos him away.

Tom Lea gets back from his meeting and immediately approaches George and Mingo. Lea threatens to blow them both away if either of them causes any trouble at all. Mingo warns George not to go visit any girlfriends at night until all of this blows over. George is upset at himself for even considering that Lea could act like a father. Further, George can talk to no one about this (not even Charity and Beulah, the girlfriends whom Mingo referred to). Even worse, with this uprising development, George is unable to share with Tom Lea a new idea, one that he has thought about for a long time now.

A few months go by before Tom Lea gets back to being his regular, surly self again. George decides it might be time to tell Mingo his new idea: to exercise the chickens’ wings so that the best of their birds can have a leg up on the competition. Mingo thinks it's a great idea and suggests that George tell Lea about it. When George tells Master Lea, George is careful to explain the losses they experience only when their cocks can’t fly high enough to get the advantage. Tom Lea is thrilled about the prospect of wing exercises for his best cocks. They begin the process of training the birds, and the season of 1823 is the best yet for Tom Lea and his chickens. In fact, they do so well that Master Lea allows George to continue sneaking out at night to get some “hot tail.” Knowing that Charity has been “two-timing” him, George turns his attention to a young lady owned by Mr. Jewett, who, unfortunately, is one of Tom Lea’s archrivals in the cockpit.