The Legacy of Kunta Kinteh

The Legacy of Kunta Kinteh

Kunta Kinteh Island sits at the mouth of the Gambia River, once an important byway for the Atlantic slave trade. The island, previously known as James Island, was once a holding ground for slaves before they were shipped west. The island's holding facility, the ruins of which still stand, was big enough to house up to 600 slaves. In 2011, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh renamed the island after the Roots character and purported real-life slave at the petitioning of New York artist Chaz Guest, who reasoned that the island should have a Gambian name. At the renaming ceremony, Guest revealed the miniature replica of his 30-foot statue of Kunta Kinte, which would be displayed on the island.

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