Alex Haley was more than a journalist. He was a master storyteller who gave us access to the private lives of some of the most iconic Black people in history. But this was only the tip of the iceberg – in a much deeper way, we still benefit from his legacy today.
Haley brought Black history to life with his writing. He told our stories during a time when racism and white violence against our people was explicit. And that’s not all.
He researched his own family line for over a decade and wrote Roots, a fictional account of the enslavement of his ancestors and their trek to freedom. And it struck a nerve beyond anything anyone could’ve imagined.
Roots was so well-received that it was made into a blockbuster mini-series seen worldwide. His work even served to ease racial tension – because Black history had found recognition among both Black and white people.
Haley’s unflinching depictions of the struggles of his family during enslavement not only educated the nation about Blackness, but also opened the door for us to trace our roots.
Being honest about our people’s past helps future generations understand why such a history must never be repeated.