Author and historian Alex Haley was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for his groundbreaking novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family on this day in 1977. In the book, Haley traced generations of his family’s history to Kunta Kinte, an 18th-century African sold into slavery in the American South. Roots spent 20 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. That same year it was turned into an equally successful miniseries that was viewed by more Americans than any other program in the history of television at the time. In addition to Roots, Haley interviewed dozens of prominent African-Americans including Martin Luther King Jr., Miles Davis and Malcolm X for a series that ran in Playboy magazine, and also penned the international bestseller The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley.
Haley died in Seattle on February 10, 1992. He was 70.
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