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Happy Birthday to American author, Alex Haley, born this day in 1921!

Haley began writing to pass the long months at sea while serving in the Coast Guard. In 1959 when he left the Coast Guard and began writing for magazines. His interviews with Malcom X for Playboy became the basis for his first book, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” which was published shortly after Malcom’s assassination.

While growing up in Tennessee Haley’s maternal grandmother frequently told him stories of his family’s history – These stories were the inspiration for Haley’s next novel, “Roots”, published in 1976. The fictionalized account of his own family’s history, traced through seven generations became a miniseries in 1977, has been translated into 37 languages, and won a special Pulitzer Prize. Haley did not write another novel for more than a decade – In 1988 his novel about the underground railroad entitled, “A Different Kind of Christmas” was published.