Alex Haley to be a writer whose functions of historical fiction and also reportage illustrated generations of afri American lives. He is widely recognized for "Roots" and also "The that Malcolm X."

Who to be Alex Haley?

Alex Haley served in the U.S. Coast Guard for two decades before pursuing a career together a writer. He eventually helmed a series of interviews because that Playboy magazine and also later co-authored The that Malcolm X. The complying with decade, Haley made history with his publication Roots, chronicling his household line from Gambia come the enslaved-holding South. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book was turned right into a 1977 miniseries that came to be one that the most famous TV mirrors of every time. Significant controversy ensued, however, when Haley was accused that plagiarism and also presenting historical and genealogical inaccuracies. Nonetheless, Roots has continued to be a groundbreaking occupational in the general public imagination. 

Early Life

Haley to be born Alexander Murray Palmer Haley on august 11, 1921, in Ithaca, new York. At the moment of his birth, Haley's father, Simon, a human being War i veteran, was a graduate college student in agriculture at Cornell University, and his mother, Bertha, to be a musician and teacher.

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For the very first years that his life, Haley, that was referred to as Palmer during childhood, lived v his grandparents Cynthia and Will in Henning, Tennessee, while his father finished his studies. ~ above Will's death, Haley's parents went back to Tennessee wherein Simon procured job-related at lane College. Haley was proud of his father, whom he said had actually overcome the immense obstacles the racism to attain high level of success and provide far better opportunities for his children.

Haley graduated from high school at the age of 15 and enrolled in ~ Alcorn A&M college (Alcorn State University) in Mississippi. After ~ one year at Alcorn, he transferred to Elizabeth City State Teachers college in phibìc Carolina. Haley had a daunting time in ~ school, lot to the harsh consternation the his father.

Writing for the coastline Guard

In 1939, Haley quit school to join the shore Guard. Although he enlisted together a seaman, he to be made come toil in the inglorious function of mess attendant. To relieve his boredom when on the ship, Haley purchase a portable typewriter and also typed out love letters for his much less articulate friends. He additionally wrote brief stories and articles and also sent them to magazines and publishers earlier in the united States. Although that received largely rejection letter in return, a grasp of his stories were published, encouraging Haley to keep writing.

At the conclusion of people War II, the coast Guard allowed Haley to transfer right into the ar of journalism, and also by 1949 that had achieved the rank of very first class small officer in the rate of journalist. Haley was soon supported to chief reporter of the coastline Guard, a rank he hosted until his retirement in 1959, after twenty years of service. Haley eventually received a number of military honors, including the American Defense business Medal, human being War II success Medal and an honorary degree from the coastline Guard Academy. A coast Guard cutter was also named in the journalist's honor: the USCGC Alex Haley.

'The of Malcolm X'

Upon retiring from the coast Guard in 1959, Haley collection out to do it as a freelance writer. Back he published many posts during these years, the pay was barely enough to make ends meet.

In 1962, Haley obtained his huge break as soon as an interview he conducted with famous trumpeter miles Davis was published in Hugh Hefner's Playboy magazine. The story was such a success that Haley undertook a collection of write-ups for the publishing that would ultimately be known as "The Playboy Interviews," in which he speak to such prominent African American figures as boy name Luther King Jr., Leontyne Price, Sammy Davis Jr., Quincy Jones and Malcolm X. 

After finish his 1963 interview v Malcolm X, Haley request the civil legal rights leader if he could write a publication on his life. The result, 2 years later, to be The the Malcolm X. A seminal book of the civil rights movement as well as an worldwide best-seller, the project memorialized because that eternity the life of Malcolm X — that was murdered before the book was finished — if transforming Haley, his collaborator, right into a celebrated writer.

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In the results of The that Malcolm X, writing and also lecturing supplies for Haley started pouring in, and also he could have easily lived out his lifelong dream of being a effective independent scribe. Instead, Haley embarked on a hugely ambitious new project come trace and retell the story that his ancestors' trip from Africa come America as enslaved people, and also then their increase from enslavement to freedom. Throughout a te of research on 3 continents, Haley check enslaved ship documents at archives in the unified States and also England and traveled to Gambia, the thought home that his ancestors in West Africa.

In his ancestral town of Juffure, Haley listened to a tribal historian recount how Kunta Kinte, Haley's ancestor and the protagonist of his book, was captured and also sold into slavery. Still, despite his meticulous research, Haley frequently despaired the he might never recapture the true soul of his ancestors. The recalled in a 1977 Ebony magazine interview, "I request myself, what right had I to be sitting in a carpeted high-rise apartment writing around what the was like in the organize of a servant ship?"