When I opened the paper on Tuesday, Feb. 11th, I was appalled to see that there was nothing written on the life or death of Alex Haley. Since no one else took the time to do so, I feel obligated to pay tribute to a remarkable man.
About 10 or 12 years ago, my mother came home with literature and pictures from an event that had her very excited. That day Alex Haley was honored at a dinner that was held by her job. She went on telling what a great man he was and proceeded to ask me if I knew who he was. I said “yes,” of course. I watched TV all the time, how could I have possibly missed the longest-running, highest-rated TV series ever! I loved “Roots.”
Never before had one man’s life story affected so many people. He showed the world that even in times of trouble, the black (African-American) family can maintain pride, strength, and knowledge of self. He helped me to realize the value of heritage and what it truly means to know where you come from. “Roots” stirred in me a great curiosity—a need to trace my own lineage; furthermore, this is a goal of mine. I admire Haley’s dedication to this task (which took up about 14 years of his life).
I also believe that “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” is a great book because it gave the world insight into the mind of one of the world’s most controversial leaders. Haley captured the essence of Malcolm X and helped the world comprehend a greatly misunderstood man.
Alex Haley’s effervescent style will be greatly missed in the world of the arts. His style is one that is easy to relate to and love. Never before has anyone affected the world the way Alex did. Thank you, Alex, for your infinite wisdom and electrifying style … wherever you are, I love you.
Alex Haley 1921-1992