Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kunta Kinte/Alex Hailey Memorial and More, Annapolis

At City Dock in the heart of Annapolis, Maryland, is the Kunta Kinte/Alex Haley Memorial. When I was a kid, the television miniseries Roots was a massive hit that everybody watched. The show began with Kunta Kinte's arrival in America as an African slave in 1767 and continued on through three hundred years of history, up to author Alex Haley's research into his ancestry that traces back to Kunta Kinte. For me, their names are instantly recognizable. Discovering the point where he landed in the 1700s was surprising and delightful. The memorial has three parts.

The first (and most obvious) part is the Alex Haley sculpture group. Haley is depicted reading his family history to three fascinated children (all from different ethnic backgrounds). N made a fourth!

Sculpture viewed from behind Haley

In front of Haley

The children

Dedication of the memorial

Just beyond the sculptures is the Story Wall, with ten plaques that quote the book. On the other side of sculptures is a compass rose. In the middle is a map of the world with Annapolis as the center!

Compass rose

World map (click to enlarge)

Nearby is the History Stone, a granite block that was supposed to be the cornerstone of a fountain commemorating the Annapolis city charter bicentennial in 1908. They never completed the fountain and the stone was rededicated as the History Stone. It was moved to the harbor area in 2002.

History Stone

The 1649 date on the stone is the date of the Act of Toleration which granted religious freedoms in Maryland.

On our visit we walked up to the capital building and saw some interesting statues.

View to the capital building

The first statue we saw is dedicated to Johann DeKalb, a German who volunteered with the Continental Army and died in the Battle of Camden in 1780.

DeKalb statue

Another statue is of Roger Taney, the fifth Supreme Court Chief Justice of the United States (from 1836 to 1864). He had an illustrious career in the law that is tarnished by his writing of the majority opinion in the Dredd Scott case. The statue makes a weird juxtaposition with the harborside memorial.

Taney and bell

As we headed back to the car, I saw a house near the Naval Academy that clearly is painted in honor of the Navy.

Maybe it's owned by the Academy?

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