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Works by
Alex Haley
(Aka Alexander Murray Palmer Haley)
(Writer)
[August 11, 1921–February 10, 1992]

Profile created May 27, 2008
Audio
Children
  • Never Turn Back: Father Serra's Mission (1993) by Alex Haley, George Guzzi, and James J. Rawls
    Describes the life of the Spanish priest who established missions in California in the late eighteenth century and discusses the lack of understanding between him and the Indians he came to convert. Ages 4-8.

Fiction
  • Mama Flora's Family (1998), completed by David Stevens after Haley's death.
    In the tradition of Roots and Queen, Mama Flora's Family is a sweeping epic of contemporary American history, culled from the unpublished works of award-winning writer Alex Haley. It is the poignant story of three generations of an African-American family who start out as destitute sharecroppers in Tennessee.

    Mama Flora is the heart and strength of the family, shepherding her children through hard times after the murder of her husband by white landholders. She has passionate ambitions for her son Willie, but he dashes her dreams by abandoning his church-going roots and moving to Chicago. After fighting in the Second World War, he marries his childhood sweetheart and struggles to build a new urban life for his family.

    Flora's dreams are realized by Ruthana, her sister's child, whom Mama Flora adopts. Ruthana graduates from college, and as a social worker in Harlem, counsels underprivileged women. Through her love for the radical poet Ben, Ruthana begins to understand her heritage, and after a sojourn in Africa comes to a redemptive understanding of herself.

    In Chicago, Willie's twin son and daughter embrace Muslim militancy and Black Power, and eventually, drugs on their rocky road through the 1960s. Mama Flora struggles to maintain her family, but she also is caught up in the turbulent times.

    Mama Flora's Family is an American tale as dramatic and touching
    as anything Alex Haley ever wrote.

  • Queen: The Story of an American Family (1993), completed by David Stevens after Haley's death.

  • A Different Kind of Christmas (1988)
    This is a very special novel that sparkles with the same memorable writing that made Roots an American classic.

    This is the story of Fletcher Randall, a nineteen-year-old from North Carolina whose politically powerful father is a plantation owner, and, of course, a slave owner. The time is 1855, and all Fletcher Randall knows and believes about slavery he's learned from his father.

    But Fletcher goes to school up North, and one or two of his Princeton classmates talk about how wrong slavery is until Fletcher begins to think for himself --and he becomes a traitor to his background, to his family, by conspiring to aid in a mass escape of slaves on the Underground Railroad. His partner in this plan is a black slave by the name of Harpin' John, a man who plays the harmonica so sweetly it could make a grown man cry. Christmas Eve is the secret date set for the escape.

    How these two men of such incredibly opposing backgrounds join together to achieve the goal of freedom makes
    A Different Kind of Christmas soar with unforgettable inspiration. This is a timeless tale of spiritual regeneration, moral courage, and powerful humanness, meaningful and memorable to readers of all faiths and all ages.

  • Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976)
    When he was a boy in Henning, Tennessee, Alex Haley's grandmother used to tell him stories about their family - stories that went back to her grandparents, and their grandparents, down through the generations all the way to a man she called "the African." She said he had lived across the ocean near what he called the "Kamby Bolongo" and had been out in the forest one day chopping wood to make a drum when he when set upon by four men, beaten, chained and dragged aboard a slave ship bound for Colonial America.

    Still vividly remembering the stories after he grew up and became a writer, Haley began to search for documentation that might authenticate the narrative. It took ten years and half a million miles of travel across three continents to find it, but finally, in an astonishing feat of genealogical detective work, he discovered not only the name of "the African" - Kunta Kinte - but the precise location of Juffure, the very village in The Gambia, West Africa, from which he was abducted in 1767 at the age of sixteen and taken on the Lord Ligonier to Maryland and sold to a Virginia planter.

    Haley had talked in Juffure with his own African sixth cousins. On September 29, 1967, he stood on the dock in Annapolis where his great-great-great-great-grandfather was taken ashore on September 29, 1767. Now he has written the monumental two-century drama of Kunta Kinte and the six generations who came after him - slaves and freedmen, farmers and blacksmiths, lumber mill workers and Pullman porters, lawyers and architects - and one author.

    But Haley has done more than recapture the history of his own family. As the first black American writer to trace his origins back to their roots, he has told the story of 25,000,000 Americans of African descent. He has rediscovered for an entire people a rich cultural heritage that slavery took away from them, along with their names and their identities. Roots speaks, finally, not just to blacks, or to whites, but to all peoples and all races everywhere, for the story it tells is one of the most eloquent testimonials ever written to the indomitability of the human spirit.

Non-fiction
  • Alex Haley: The Man Who Traced America's Roots: His Life, His Works) (2007)
    Alex Haley: The Man Who Traced America's Roots is a collection of articles the Pulitzer Prize-winning author wrote for Reader's Digest from 1954 to 1991. Haley's stories are timeless, as powerful and relevant today as when they were first written.

    In 1966, Alex Haley, a contributing writer for Reader's Digest, wanted to tell his family's "story-history." For ten years, Reader's Digest financed Haley's research and travel. The result of this historic collaboration was Roots, the Pulitzer-winning book.

    Alex Haley: The Man Who Traced America's Roots is a celebration of the 30th anniversary of that epic classic and a recognition of a lifetime of writings that changed the nation. In this 176-page paperback book, Haley shares stories of triumph and resilience, of race and inequality, and the search that led to the groundbreaking book and TV miniseries, Roots. The collection includes an excerpt from Roots and the candid article "Aboard the African Star," in which Haley reveals his struggles as a professional writer and as a man. This edition also features an introduction from Lawrence Otis Graham, one of the nation's leading experts on race, politics and class in America.

  • In Search of the "African" (1974)

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley (1965)
    See also Malcolm X.

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