Rare Original Alex Haley Roots Manuscript; Lengthily Annotated by Haley and Accompanied by Photographs from the Haley Estate

  • Alex Haley Original Annotated Roots Manuscript.

Alex Haley Original Annotated Roots Manuscript.


Item Number: 96509

Rare original typescript manuscript leaf from an early draft of Alex Haley’s Roots, “the most highly acclaimed book of our time” (Washington Post). Double matted with two large full-color photographs from Haley’s estate taken in the tiny village of Juffure in northern Gambia where Haley first met his African relatives of the Kinte clan including the griot whose stories were one of the inspirations for the Roots. The manuscript reads in part, “He don’t travel nowhere in dat coach of his’n dats pulled by matching chestnut colored hosses, Lawd. An dat coach don’t roll widout his liquor chest dat look jes’ like any other suitcase.” Haley has made numerous corrections to this portion of the text and added several paragraphs in his hand. In near fine condition.

Published in October 1976 amid significant advance expectations, Roots was immediately successful, garnering a slew of positive reviews and debuting at #5 of The New York Times Best Seller list. By mid-November, it had risen to the #1 spot on the list. The television adaptation of the book aired in January 1977 and within seven months of its release, Roots had sold over 1.5 million copies. In total, Roots spent 22 weeks at the #1 spot on The Times' list, including each of the first 18 weeks of 1977. Ultimately, it was on the list for a total 46 weeks. Together, the success of the novel and its 1977 television adaptation, sparked an explosion of interest in the fields of genealogy and researching family histories. Haley earned a Pulitzer Prize special award in 1977 for Roots. The television miniseries garnered many awards, including nine Emmys and a Peabody. It was remade again in 2016 starring Malachi Kirby, Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne and Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

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