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Alex Haley (Alex Palmer Haley) Biography

(1921–92), (Alex Palmer Haley), The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Roots, A Different Kind of Christmas

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Bernard Gutteridge Biography to Hartshill Warwickshire

African-American writer, born in Ithaca, New York. After two years at college he served with the Coast Guard, and on retirement in 1959 became a freelance magazine writer and interviewer. He co-authored The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), based on intensive interviews with the famous Black Muslim leader. His lengthy foreword to the book is a shrewd and moving portrait of Malcolm X. His next book, Roots (1977; Pulitzer Prize), had a great international success, as did its popular television adaptation; it chronicles the lives of Kunta Kinte (one of Haley's ancestors who was brought to Virginia as a slave) and the six generations, both slaves and freed men, that followed. Haley sought and found his roots in The Gambia, West Africa, and his epic work is based on factual research. His novella A Different Kind of Christmas (1988) is a stirring story of the Underground Railway by which slaves were smuggled out to free territory in America.

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