25 Alex Haley Quotes For Connecting You To Your Roots

Celebrate one of the best authors of the twentieth century with our Alex Haley quotes. 

Alex Haley had a successful career as a writer, and his efforts to explore African American history impacted the globe. 

Check out our Alex Haley quotes below to learn more. 

Who is Alex Haley?

Alex Haley was an American writer born in 1921 in Ithaca, New York but grew up in Henning, Tennesee.  

He is known for shining a light on the history and culture of African Americans. 

Check out these cool Alex Haley facts below: 

  • Haley got his big break as a writer with Playboy Magazine in 1962.
  • He interviewed Martin Luther King Jr, Sammy Davis, and Quincy Jones. 
  • Malcolm’s Playboy Magazine interview led them to write a book together. 

What is Alex Haley known for?

Alex Haley is known as one of the nation’s most impactful writers. 

As an author, he has penned different books and series that have impacted the country and the globe. 

He wrote Roots, a successful book, movie, and television series. 

He also wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which chronicles the history of the civil rights movement through one of the country’s most influential and revolutionary figures. 

How did Roots and The Autobiography of Malcolm X change the world?

Today it has become popular for people to send DNA samples to various companies and retrieve their DNA. 

People do this for health reasons or because they wish to know about their family history and ethnic background. 

When audiences saw the movie Roots or read the book series, it inspired national interest in genealogy and contributed to easing some racial tensions in America. 

When people found out how racially intermixed most Americans are, it led to clarity for some. 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is listed as one of the ten most important nonfiction books of the twentieth century. 

To learn more, check out our Alex Haley quotes below. 

Short Alex Haley quotes about Malcolm X

Alex Haley helped immortalize Malcolm’s life by contributing to The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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1. “Everything he did almost was dramatic.” — Alex Haley 

2. “I was looking at him and reacting to him as a subject.” — Alex Haley 

3. “He was always – I like to say of Malcolm – he was just simply electrical.” — Alex Haley 

4. “And it wasn’t that he was trying to be: it was just the nature of him.” — Alex Haley 

5. “My own perception of Malcolm was one of something that bordered on fascination.” — Alex Haley 

The top Alex Haley quotes about family bonds


6. “Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.”  — Alex Haley 

7. “Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children.” — Alex Haley 

8. “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” — Alex Haley 

9. “When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth.” — Alex Haley 

10. “To the best of my knowledge and of my effort, every lineage statement within Roots is from either my African or American families’ carefully preserved oral history, much of which I have been able conventionally to corroborate with documents.” — Alex Haley 

The best Alex Haley quotes about writing and seeking happiness

Alex Haley is a man who knows happiness is an action word and must be sought after. 

11. “In my writing, as much as I could, I tried to find the good and praise it.” — Alex Haley 

12. “Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you.” — Alex Haley 

13. “The problem is to find the time to write. That’s why I go to sea. I couldn’t be happier than when at sea.” — Alex Haley

14. “If somebody comes up and says something good about you, that is never taken as an adhesive thing like something negative about you.” — Alex Haley 

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15. “I look at my books the way parents look at their children. The fact that one becomes more successful than the others doesn’t make me love the less successful one any less.” — Alex Haley 

Famous Alex Haley quotes about the impact of the Roots series

Roots is one of Haley’s most successful and critically acclaimed works. 

16. “I stand by Roots as symbol of the fate of my people.” — Alex Haley 

17. “Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people.” — Alex Haley 

18.“My fondest hope is that Roots may start black, white, brown, red, yellow people digging back for their own roots. Man, that would make me feel 90 feet tall.” — Alex Haley 

19. “If you’re blessed to do something like Roots, you find yourself immersed. You’re asked to do this, to do that – all for admirable causes. But you’re just swamped.” — Alex Haley 

20. “Two years passed, and I had no second book to follow Roots. Four years passed, six years. When a decade had passed without me having another book to follow Roots, I was having serious private frustrations with myself.” — Alex Haley 

Alex Haley quotes and sayings on racism and American culture

Haley has been critical of racism in the US since he first started writing. 

21. “Racism is taught in our society.” — Alex Haley 

“[Racism] is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.” — Alex Haley 

22. “We don’t know: some little black boy or girl growing up in the inner city might grow up and cure cancer for all of us – if we let them do it.” — Alex Haley 

23. “If you think about it, there’s not a religious group, there’s not a nationalistic group, there’s not a tribe, there is no grouping of people to my knowledge, of any consequence, who have not, at one or another time, been the object of hatred, racism, or who has not had people against them just because they were them.” — Alex Haley 

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24. “Most of the people I’ve met who are black in other countries look up to the blacks in this country. Though they may talk differently, they are anxious to partake of this country simply because things in their country are not physically on par with what they are here.” — Alex Haley 

25. “The money I have made and will be making means nothing to me compared to the fact that about half of the black people I meet – ranging from the most sophisticated to the least sophisticated – say to me, ‘I’m proud of you.’ I feel strongly about always earning that and never letting black people down.” — Alex Haley 

How did Haley’s work help America come to terms with its past?

Alex Haley left a legacy of change and evolution in American culture. 

Two of Haley’s influential books are A Different Kind of Christmas and Queen

A Different Kind of Christmas is a book that tells the tale of an enslaver who wakes up to the morality of his actions. 

Many stories cover what life was like for enslaved people, but this book tackles the psyche of those who were enslavers. 

Queen is the story of the life of Queen Jackson Haley, who was the child of a white enslaver and an African woman. 

The story evokes many emotions as it paints the picture of life for biracial people in America. 

This book was completed posthumously after Haley’s death. 

Haley is one of the most celebrated writers of the twentieth century, and his work continues to inspire. 

What is your favorite Alex Haley quote?

Please be sure to let us know in the comments. 

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