Growing up, Haley became interested in his ancestry while listening to colorful stories told by his family.
These stories, which traced seven generations, would become the source and inspiration for Haley's later work.
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.
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.
For correspondence between Haley and Doubleday's Ken Mc Cormick, see Garret A. The OAAU is the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the organization that X founded in 1964 after his trip to Mecca as an international Africanist organization.
Alex Haley is the celebrated author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family (1976).
He even reenacted Kunta's experience during the middle passage by spending a night in the hold of a ship (the storage room below deck) stripped to his underwear.
Haley himself described Roots as a "faction," a mixture of fact and fiction.