Haley, Alex

Alex Haley (1921-1992): African-American writer Alex Haley is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family and the co-author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Haley attended Alcorn State University beginning at age fifteen and withdrew two years later. At age eighteen, he began serving in the Coast Guard and received many awards and decorations by the time he retired twenty years later. He began his writing career soon thereafter. He conducted the first Playboy magazine interview in 1962. The interview with Miles Davis included candid reflections on racism. He also interviewed Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Sammy Davis, Jr., Jim Brown, Johnny Carson, and Quincy Jones. He completed Malcolm X’s memoir just weeks before Malcolm X was assassinated in February 1965. In 1976, Haley published Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a novel based on his family’s history, which was later turned into a television miniseries. 

Sources:

Eric Pace, “Alex Haley, 70, Author of ‘Roots,’ Dies,” The New York Times, 11 February 1992, http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/11/books/alex-haley-70-author-of-roots-dies.html.