Arts/Entertainment Spotlights

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Alex Haley


Alex Haley was an American author. He was born Alexander Murray Palmer "Alex" Haley, on August 11, 1921. He attended Alcorn State University and Elizabeth City State College, two historically black colleges. After withdrawing from college, Haley joined the military at the age of 18. He served 20 years in the United States Coast Guard. In 1962 Haley conducted the first interview with jazz musician Miles Davis for Playboy magazine. He published his first book The Autobiography of Malcom X in 1965. In 1976, Haley published a novel titled Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Haley won a Pulitzer Prize for Roots in 1977. Roots was also adapted as a mini- series by ABC that same year. In 1978 a lawsuit was filed against Haley by Harold Courlander. Courlander claimed that Haley has copied 81 pages of his novel, The African. After a five week trial Haley and Courlander came to a financial settlement. In the late 1970's Haley began work on his last novel "Queen". Queen was the story of his grandmother. She was the daughter of a black slave woman and her white slave master. Unfortunately, Haley was unable to complete the novel before he died of a heart attack on February 10, 1992. The novel was finished by David Stevens. The novel was published as Alex Haley's Queen and was later adapted as a movie in 1993.The University of Tennessee Libraries maintains a collection of Haley's personal works.

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