Alex Haley (1921-1992)

AlexHaley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer  and the author of The autobiography of Malcolm X published in 1965. It was Haley’s first book. It describes the trajectory of Malcolm X’s life from street criminal to national spokesman for the Nation of Islam  to his conversion to Sunni Islam. It also outlines Malcolm X’s philosophy of  black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. Haley wrote an epilogue to the book summarizing the end of Malcolm X’s life, including his assassination in New York’s  Audubon Ballroom . The Autobiography of Malcolm X has been a consistent best-seller since its 1965 publication.  The New York Times reported that six million copies of the book had sold by 1977. In 1998 TIME magazine ranked The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of the 10 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. In 1966 Haley received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awardfor The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

In 1976 he wrote a  novel based on his family’s history, going back to slavery days called roots. It started with the story of Kunta Kinte, who was kidnapped in Gambia in 1767 and transported to the province of Maryland to be sold as a slave.Haley claimed to be a seventh-generation descendant of Kunta Kinte, and his work on the novel involved twelve years of research, intercontinental travel, and writing. He went to the village of Juffure, where Kunta Kinte grew up and listened to a griot tell the story of Kinte’s capture.

 Roots was published in 37 languages. Haley won a special Pulitzer Price alex_haley

for his work in 1977. ABC adapted the book as a television miniseries of the same name and aired it in the same year to a record-breaking audience of 130 million viewers. In the United States the book and miniseries raised the public awareness of African-American history and inspired a broad interest in genealogy and the family history.

In 1979 ABC aired the sequel miniseries, Roots : the next generations, which continued the story of Kunta Kinte’s descendants.  In 2016,  History  aired a remarke of the original miniseries. Haley appeared briefly, portrayed by Tony Award winner Laurence Fishburne.

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