Alex Haley (August 11, 1921 - February 10, 1992)
Born: 11th August, 1921
Died: 10th February, 1992
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Ithaca, New York, Seattle, Washington
Notable works: "Roots", "The Autobiography of Malcolm X"

Alex Haley Facts

Biography

Alex Haley, in full Alexander Palmer Haley, (born August 11, 1921, Ithaca, New York, U.S.--died February 10, 1992, Seattle, Washington), American writer whose works of historical fiction and reportage depicted the struggles of African Americans.

Although his parents were teachers, Haley was an indifferent student. He began writing to avoid boredom during voyages while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard (1939-59). His first major work, The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), was an authoritative and widely read narrative based on Haley's interviews with the Black Muslim spokesman. The work is recognized as a classic of African American literature.

Haley's greatest success was Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976). This saga covers seven American generations, from the enslavement of Haley's African ancestors to his own genealogical quest. The work forcefully shows relationships between generations and between races. Roots was adapted as a multi-episode television program, which, when first broadcast in January 1977, became one of the most popular shows in the history of American television and galvanized attention on African American issues and history. That same year Haley won a special Pulitzer Prize. A successful sequel was first broadcast in February 1979 as Roots: The Next Generations. Another TV adaptation of the novel debuted in 2016.

Roots spurred much interest in family history, and Haley created the Kinte Foundation (1972) to store records that aid in tracing black genealogy. Haley later admitted that his saga was partly fictional; the book was also the subject of a plagiarism suit, which Haley settled out of court.

In 1978 Haley's boyhood home in Henning, Tennessee, north of Memphis, was restored and opened to the public. On the same grounds, the state later constructed the Alex Haley Interpretive Center (2010), which educated visitors in genealogical methodology.

Top 24 Alex Haley quotes

Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.
Children
Grandparents
Little
Little children
Lives
Nobody
Over
Sort
Stardust
When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.
About
Ancestry
Earth
Every
Family
Lineage
Person
Start
Talking
You
In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.
Bridge
Every
Family
Future
Link
Manner
Our
Past
Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.
Deal
Either
Going
Reality
Sure
You
In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good, and praise it.
Could
Find
Good
I tried
Much
Praise
Tried
Writing
Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people.
Family
Just
People
Roots
Saga
Symbolic
Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.
Automatic
Behavior
Characteristics
Learned
Our
Persons
Physical
Racism
Society
Taught
Toward
I look at my books the way parents look at their children. The fact that one becomes more successful than the others doesn't make me love the less successful one any less.
Any
Becomes
Books
Children
Fact
Less
Look
Love
Make
Me
More
Others
Parents
Successful
My fondest hope is that 'Roots' may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots. Man, that would make me feel 90 feet tall.
Back
Black
Brown
Digging
Feel
Feet
Hope
Make
Man
May
Me
Own
People
Red
My own perception of Malcolm was one of something that bordered on fascination because I was looking at him and reacting to him as a subject.
Because
Fascination
Him
Looking
Malcolm
My own
Own
Perception
Reacting
Something
Subject
He was always - I like to say of Malcolm - he was just simply electrical. Everything he did almost was dramatic, and it wasn't that he was trying to be: it was just the nature of him.
Almost
Always
Did
Dramatic
Electrical
Everything
He
Him
Just
Like
Malcolm
Nature
Say
Simply
If you think about it, there's not a religious group, there's not a nationalistic group, there's not a tribe, there is no grouping of people to my knowledge, of any consequence, who have not, at one or another time, been the object of hatred, racism, or who has not had people against them just because they were them.
About
Against
Another
Another time
Any
Because
Been
Consequence
Group
Grouping
Had
Hatred
Just
Just because
We don't know: some little black boy or girl growing up in the inner city might grow up and cure cancer for all of us - if we let them do it.
Black
Boy
Cancer
City
Cure
Girl
Grow
Grow up
Growing
Growing up
Inner
Inner city
Know
Little
I think from what I personally know, I am really quite proud of most of the people I know who have 'made it,' who do things to help people.
Am
Help
Help people
I am
I think
Know
Made
Most
People
Personally
Proud
Quite
Really
Things
Most of the people I've met who are black in other countries look up to the blacks in this country. Though they may talk differently, they are anxious to partake of this country simply because things in their country are not physically on par with what they are here.
Anxious
Because
Black
Blacks
Countries
Country
Differently
Here
Look
May
Met
Most
Other
Other countries
The money I have made and will be making means nothing to me compared to the fact that about half of the black people I meet - ranging from the most sophisticated to the least sophisticated - say to me, 'I'm proud of you.' I feel strongly about always earning that and never letting black people down.
About
Always
Black
Compared
Down
Earning
Fact
Feel
Half
I feel
Least
Letting
Made
Making
Two years passed, and I had no second book to follow 'Roots.' Four years passed, six years. When a decade had passed without me having another book to follow 'Roots,' I was having serious private frustrations with myself.
Another
Book
Decade
Follow
Four
Frustrations
Had
Having
Me
Myself
Passed
Private
Roots
Second
To the best of my knowledge and of my effort, every lineage statement within 'Roots' is from either my African or American families' carefully preserved oral history, much of which I have been able conventionally to corroborate with documents.
Able
African
American
American families
Been
Best
Carefully
Documents
Effort
Either
Every
Families
History
Knowledge
I stand by 'Roots' as symbol of the fate of my people.
Fate
People
Roots
Stand
Symbol
I know Juffure was a British trading post and my portrait of the village bears no resemblance to the way it was. But the portrait I gave was true of nearly all the other villages in Gambia. I, we, need a place called Eden. My people need Pilgrim's Rock.
Bears
British
Eden
Gave
Know
Nearly
Need
Other
People
Pilgrim
Place
Portrait
Post
Resemblance
If you're blessed to do something like 'Roots'... you find yourself immersed. You're asked to do this, to do that - all for admirable causes. But you're just swamped.
Admirable
Asked
Blessed
Causes
Find
Immersed
Just
Like
Roots
Something
You
Yourself
A word, for example, that is negative, pejorative, and has caused more pain and suffering is 'illegitimate.' But every person has a mother and father. It is another way we let society hurt others.
Another
Another way
Caused
Every
Example
Father
For example
Hurt
Illegitimate
More
Mother
Mother and father
Negative
Others
If somebody comes up and says something good about you, that is never taken as an adhesive thing like something negative about you.
About
Good
Like
Negative
Never
Says
Somebody
Something
Something good
Taken
Thing
Up
You
The problem is to find the time to write. That's why I go to sea. I couldn't be happier than when at sea.
Find
Go
Happier
Problem
Sea
Than
Time
Why
Write

Alex Haley essays

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The author, Henry Louis Gates, revealed some very startling facts about these 12 extraordinary people. The people Mr. Gates made a decision to interview and write about, experienced the privilege of learning about whom we were holding and that land their particular ancestry came. These well-known entertainers originated in different backgrounds of life. One could recognize by Henry Louis Gates' Intro that he developed a desire to know about his beginnings at an early age. This individual wanted to know the dimensions of the origins of his people from the East of the Ocean, and the Western..
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