Kunta Kinte's Manacles

Actor LeVar Burton wore these prop manacles in the miniseries Roots (ABC, 1977), a dramatic portrayal of slavery as experienced by several generations of one family. Based on Alex Haley's autobiographical novel, Roots began with Kunta Kinte, an African youth brought to America as a slave in the 1700s, and ended with the emancipation of his descendants during the Civil War. Watched by more than 100 million people, it was a significant departure from programs that had traditionally relegated blacks to minor, stereotyped roles.
Currently not on view
Object Name
shackles, hand
date made
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
average spatial: 6 1/2 in x 53 in; x 16.51 cm x 134.62 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Entertainment
National Treasures exhibit
Popular Entertainment
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Related Publication
Kendrick, Kathleen M. and Peter C. Liebhold. Smithsonian Treasures of American History
Treasures of American History online exhibition
Publication author
National Museum of American History
Publication URL

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