This award-winning six-part historical epic was one of the first examples of the miniseries format and one of the highest-rated television programs in broadcasting history. Based on the best-selling novel by author Alex Haley, Roots chronicles the progress of Haley's own family across many generations, from the kidnapping of an African warrior by American slave traders to eventual post-Civil War freedom. Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton) is a young tribesman of coastal Africa who has passed the rituals marking his transition into manhood. Searching for wood to build a drum, he is set upon by slavers who sell him in the United States after a nightmarish Atlantic crossing. Defiant, Kunta refuses to consider himself a slave, despite some sage advice from his mentor, the more mature Fiddler (Louis Gossett Jr.). As the years pass, the aging Kunta (John Amos) is hobbled for his repeated escape attempts. Realizing he'll never return to Africa, Kunta settles down, becoming husband to Bell (Madge Sinclair) and father to Kizzy (Leslie Uggams), a girl infused with her father's independent spirit. Sold and then raped by her new master, Kizzy has a son, Chicken George (Ben Vereen), a happy go lucky cockfighting expert who uses his skills to buy his freedom. George paves the way for his children, the great-grandchildren of Kunta Kinte, who finally become free in the aftermath of the Civil War. Roots (1977) was followed by a sequel miniseries, Roots: The Next Generations (1979), and a made-for-television feature, Roots: The Gift (1988), as well as another telefilm based on the family history of the Haley clan, Queen (1993).