Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
  • Morgan State University
  • Richard Wright
  • Thelma ‘Butterfly’ McQueen
  • Robert H. Sengstacke
  • Earl Lloyd
Categories

Alex Haley

Alex Haley

Alex Haley

Author of ‘Roots’. Journalist, writer. Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born in Ithaca, New York, on August 11, 1921. He grew up in Henning, Tennessee, and graduated from high school at age 15. Haley studied at State Teachers College in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, for two years, and joined the Coast Guard in 1939.

He started out as a mess attendant, Third Class, and in 1952 became the first to hold the title of Coast Guard Journalist. Haley’s friends quickly discovered his writing talent and began requesting his help when writing their own love letters. Haley also used his talents to recount the old tales of sea captains, which turned into his first published story. 

In the 1950s, Haley served as a public relations liaison, turning run-of-the-mill Coast Guard news into exciting, media-friendly narratives. After 20 years of service, Chief Journalist Haley retired from the Coast Guard in 1959 to pursue his career as a journalist full-time. He wrote stories for Playboy and Reader’s Digest, but his career exploded in 1965 with the publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Haley had interviewed the minister of the Nation of Islam for Playboy, and these conversations expanded into the acclaimed autobiography. Malcolm X died shortly before the collaborative effort went to press.

In 1965, Haley resolved to trace the genealogy of his mother’s family. He had grown up listening to his grandmother’s stories about “Kin-tay,” an African ancestor who was enslaved and shipped to America. Haley embarked on a safari to Juffure, a village in Gambia, to learn more. A local historian was able to tell Haley about his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Kunta Kinte, who was brought to America via slave-ship in 1767.

Roots, Haley’s account of his family’s history, was published in 1976, after 12 years of research and creative reconstruction. Roots has been translated into 37 languages and has sold six million copies in hardcover and millions more in paperback. One year after publication, ABC broadcast the miniseries Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which was watched by an estimated 130 million viewers and for which Haley received the Pulitzer Prize and the Spingarn Medal in 1977.

The cultural implications of Roots are widespread; Haley is credited with awakening an interest in genealogy, especially among African-American families. Haley and his brothers created the Kinte Foundation to encourage the preservation of African-American genealogical records. Roots broke the boundaries between truth and myth, individual family and collective culture. Haley’s other works include A Different Kind of Christmas (1988), Queen (1993), and the television series Palmerstown, USA (1980). Haley died on February 10, 1992.

Black AMerica News

Papa John’s Scores Shaq To Help Revive Its ImageNEW YORK (AP) — Papa John’s has a new pitchman: Shaquille O’Neal. The chain says basketball Hall of Famer will appear on TV commercials and promote Papa John’s in other ways. He will also join the com [...]

Harris To Visit Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church In AtlantaATLANTA (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is set to speak Sunday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. once occupied the pulpit. Other 2 [...]

4-Year-Old With Spina Bifida Walks For First Time As Friends Cheer Her On [Video]All kids have dreams and for Four-year-old Kenydii Parker, that dream was to walk. Kenydii’s father, Kenneth Parker, told PEOPLE she was born with Spina bifida and has been using a wheelchair. But Ken [...]

Vegas Cop Arrested For Recording Man’s Genitals, Making Mentally Ill Man TwerkA Las Vegas police officer will face felony police misconduct charges after she was caught running background checks for her friends, making racist and homophobic jokes and sharing demeaning videos of [...]

Booker Nets 1st 2020 Endorsement From S. Carolina LawmakerCOLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker has netted the first endorsement from a sitting lawmaker in the crucial early-voting state of South Carolina. State Rep. John King t [...]

16-Year-Old Accepted Into 9 Law Schools [VIDEO]Via Bossip: Another brilliant Black girl will make you deeply assess what you’re doing with your life. According to Texas Lawyer, Haley Taylor Schlitz is a 16-year-old who’s already on track to gradua [...]

Defense Expert Says Cop Went By The Book In Teen’s ShootingPITTSBURGH (AP) — East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld did everything by the book in his fatal encounter with an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh last summer, a defense expert says. [...]

Jimmy Carter’s New Milestone: Longest-Lived US PresidentATLANTA (AP) — Nearly four decades after voters unceremoniously rejected then-President Jimmy Carter’s bid for a second term, the 39th president has reached a milestone that electoral math cannot disp [...]

Man Exonerated In Rape Case And Freed After 35 YearsBATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man convicted of a 1982 rape in Louisiana‘s capital city walked free Thursday after 35 years in prison, following his exoneration using an updated fingerprint database. The I [...]

ACLU Sues FBI For Records Related To Black Extremists ReportSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI on Thursday for records related to a divisive 2017 report that said black extremists were on the rise following the shooting deaths [...]

Trump Signs Executive Order To Protect Free Speech On College CampusesPresident Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding. The new order directs federal agenci [...]

After Two Crashes, Boeing To Make Safety Feature Standard On Troubled Max JetsBoeing will make standard on its troubled new airliner a safety feature that might have helped the crew of a jet that crashed shortly after takeoff last year in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. T [...]

Keisha Lance Bottoms Announces New Probe Into Atlanta Child MurdersATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s mayor and police chief are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders that terrorized the city’s black community between 1979 and 1981. Mayor Keisha Lance [...]

Cyclone Idai Death Toll Up To 550 In AfricaCHIMANIMANI, Zimbabwe (AP) — Reports from the United Nations and African governments say Cyclone Idai’s death toll has risen to over 550 people. A U.N. official says Cyclone Idai has killed 242 people [...]

Prairie View A&M Student Hospitalized After Roommate Pours Bleach On HerJulisha Wyatt, 19, was taken by ambulance to the hospital after the incident caused minor burns on her body as well. [...]

Defense Asks For Cop’s Acquittal On Murder In Antwon Rose’s DeathPITTSBURGH (AP) — After prosecutors wrapped up their case, the lawyer for a white former police officer charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager asked a judge Thursday to issue an ac [...]

Facebook Stored Millions Of Passwords In Plain TextSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook had stored millions of user passwords in plain text for years, the social media company confirmed on Thursday after a security researcher posted about the issue online. F [...]

Black Man Detained While Moving Into His Own HomeThe Kansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked state officials to investigate after a black man was detained by police while moving into his home, then allegedly harassed f [...]

Brothers Charged After Shooting Pregnant Woman Standing At Bus StopTwo brothers have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after shooting a 20-year-old pregnant woman Thursday, according to KHOU. Kwan Tayes, 21, and Nickolaus Collins, 19, were arr [...]

Mississippi Governor Set To Sign ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion LawJACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Gov. Phil Bryant says he’s not worried about lawsuits as Mississippi prepares to enact one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. The Republican governor is scheduled to s [...]