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Most critics agreed and evaluated Roots as a blend of history and entertainment.However, some voiced concerns—especially at the time of the television series—that racial tension in America would be aggravated by Roots.After surviving the middle passage (the brutal shipment of Africans to be sold in the Americas), he was made a slave on a plantation in the United States.
Over eight million copies of the book were in print, and the text was translated into twenty-six languages.
In addition to fame and fortune, Roots also brought Haley controversy.
By April 1977 almost two million hardcover copies of the book had been sold and 130 million people had seen all or part of the eight-episode television series.
Roots is considered by many critics a classic in African American literature and culture.
Two sequels, The Next Generation and The Gift, quickly followed.
Roots appealed to readers of every background: for African American readers, the story inspired pride and a greater understanding of the past; and for readers of other ethnicities, it was a powerful look at an American family's immigrant past.Many activists viewed Roots to be an important part of the civil rights movement, where African Americans and other minorities fought for equality. Jordan (1935–), the executive director of the National Urban League, called the television series "the single most spectacular educational experience in race relations in America." Speaking of the appeal of Roots among blacks, Haley added: "The blacks who are buying books are not buying them to go out and fight someone, but because they want to know who they are.…[The] book has touched a strong, subliminal chord." Barely two years after the book was published, Roots had already won 271 awards, and its television adaptation had been nominated for a record-breaking thirty-seven Emmys, the top awards for television programming.He wrote serious pieces as well and submitted them to various magazines.Upon retiring from the Coast Guard, Haley decided to become a full-time writer and journalist.School records indicate that Haley was not an exceptional student, and at the age of eighteen he joined the U. Coast Guard and began a twenty-year career in the service.He practiced his writing, at first only to cure boredom on the ship, and soon found himself writing love letters for his shipmates to send home to their wives and girlfriends.Alex Haley was born in Ithaca, New York, and raised in the small town of Henning, Tennessee.His father managed the family lumber business while his mother was a schoolteacher.Two weeks after the book was completed, Haley began work on his next project, Roots.The tale follows the life of Kunta Kinte, a proud African who was kidnapped from his village in West Africa.