Roots: The Saga of an American Family Chapter 95 Summary

Alex Haley

Chapter 95 Summary

The morning after his wedding, George is back down with the cocks, and Matilda is knocking on the big house door requesting a hoe for the fields. It isn’t long into the first day of work when Matilda asks whether the slaves have regular prayer meetings. After hearing they do not, Matilda begins planning a prayer meeting of her own for every Sunday afternoon.

Matilda begins talking to the few other slaves along slave row about how Chicken George came courting her. Because George was shocked that she wouldn’t make love with him until they were married, Matilda thought she would never see him again. However, next time he came around, he asked her to marry him. Kizzy pipes up to say, “I wants me some gran’chilluns!” Luckily for Kizzy, less than two months pass before Matilda is pregnant.

In 1828, Chicken George’s first child is born. Since George is off fighting chickens, Matilda names the child after her own father, Virgil. As soon as Chicken George returns from the cockfights, he sits with Virgil and tells him all about his grandfather, named Kunta Kinte; the African words for drum and fiddle; the way Kunta was stolen from the woods when he went to make a drum; and how the quest for freedom earned Kunta a half-foot. Kizzy is beside herself with love for her son and grandson.

Kizzy and Matilda spend a lot of time together, which forces Kizzy to become used to Matilda reading the Bible. It also forces Matilda to get used to Kizzy’s sleep-talking of stories about being stolen away from Kunta and Bell. Meanwhile, everyone but Chicken George and Mingo attend Matilda’s weekly prayer meetings.

Even though Chicken George still has a roving nature, he is a good husband and father when he is at home. Now it’s Chicken George who talks about the news around the state in the same way that Kunta Kinte did when he was a driver. Often, Chicken George returns from the cockfights with stories about Indian chiefs, president Andrew Jackson (who loves cockfights as well), and free blacks who are “buildin’ dis country wid dey muscles!”

It’s Chicken George’s meanderings (especially with other women) that cause Matilda to feel a bit sad about their marriage. Chicken George tries to promise that he is thinking only about Matilda and the children, but Matilda knows that’s not exactly true. Matilda tries to be a good wife even though she doesn’t thoroughly trust her husband.

It isn’t long before a second son is born to Matilda and Chicken George. Kizzy looks on as her son, yet again, tells the story of Kunta Kinte.