As we all know Alex Haley is a very important piece of Lauderdale County, TN history. The story of his family who settled in Henning after emancipation is known through Roots the book and Roots the television miniseries. Haley was hailed as the first African American to ever trace his history back to the village in Africa where his ancestors had once lived. I’m sure that we’ve all seen Roots the miniseries and that some of us can even recite lines from the miniseries. There is no denying the effect that Haley’s Roots had on America. Haley can be seen as the father of modern genealogy because his story encouraged the nation to trace their roots. After Roots was published Haley lived a very busy life traveling to lectures and book signings supporting Roots. As a child I attended Haley’s wake in Memphis, TN and as you all know I have volunteered at the Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center in Henning, TN.
I was approached by Adam Henig, author of Alex Haley’s Roots: An Author’s Odyssey and I decided to read his book and interview him. What I enjoyed most about the book was its truth. It did not gloss over the complexity of Haley and it also did not leave out details about the plagiarism accusations that Haley faced.
Overall, I am pleased to have read the text and pleased to have met Adam Henig. Despite Haley’s complexities and the accusations leveraged against him I have a great deal of respect for him and his work and still feel inspired by him and his work to trace my family’s roots and the roots of other families.
You can listen to my interview with Adam Henig below.