Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Day In Black History... Alex Hailey Dies

I have not done ANY Black History posts this month yet. There have have been so many other things going on in my life that blog posting had taken a backseat for a while. But I have many, many blog friends who have picked up the baton and run with it! So today I decided to through my hat back into the ring and pump out my first Black History month posting.

Today in Black History Author Alex Hailey who was born in Ithaca, New York on August 11th, 1921 died in Seattle, Washington on February 10th, 1992. He was 70 years old when he died. Though he is given some literary credit for "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" Author, Alex Hailey is perhaps most famous for his novel "Roots" The Saga Of An American Family. Roots was said to be based on the actually family of Alex Hailey. Roots traced the history of one African American Family from a hunted and captured African boy turned slave through seven generations and the freedom and ending of slavery.

Alex Hailey won a Pulitzer Prize for "Roots" on April 18th 1977. Roots may be the most important writing to some African American families because of the likelihood that this could have been the story of almost ANY African American family. Most African Americans ancestry lines will trace back to slavery, and beyond that Africa. There were plagiarism charges and an court case stating that parts of Roots was indeed taken from a book titled "The African" by Harold Courlander. Alex Hailey eventually settled out of court.

The novel has since been called a fraud, and many have bought up arguments, papers and statements accusing the author of other acts of plagiarism. However, this does not tarnish or change the fact that even if Roots is not truly Alex Hailey's ancestral story it is SOMEONE's ancestral story! There was slavery, there were slave ships, there were beatings and killings and raping. This was the saga of an American family. Roots was a phenomenal piece of literature which may be excluded from many libraries or historical archives but is still part of African American history!

On this date in history, African American author ALEX HAILEY, author of ROOTS died of a heart attack in Seattle, Washington...
Alex Hailey
August 11, 1921 - February 10, 1992
... RIP

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