Alex Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American author who has been credited with raising public awareness of African American history and of sparking widespread interest in genealogy.
Haley ghostwrote his first book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which was published in 1965 and has been a consistent bestseller since its publication.
He is best known for his 1976 book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which was made into a television mini-series that aired to a record-breaking TV audience in 1977 and was followed by a mini-series sequel in 1979. Roots, the story of Haley’s family going back to the days of slavery, has been translated into 37 languages and led to Haley’s being awarded a special Pulitzer Prize. Genealogists have disputed Haley’s research and conclusions, and today Roots is considered to be a novel as opposed to a work of historical scholarship.