Uncover the fraud and expose it.
The literary fraud behind Alex Haley’s novel ‘Roots’ is one of the least known acts of brazen plagiarism in U.S. history. As a young man in the 70’s, I was enthralled and moved by the epic story of Kunta Kinte, the young African taken into slavery in the 1700’s and sold to a plantation owner in the American Colonies.
But facts are stubborn things, and in the early 1980’s, what came to light about the fraud being uncovered concerning Haley’s novel / mini-series, should have taken a host of people by surprise, but it didn’t. It was successfully tampered down and relegated to the back pages, if at all.
So in light of Haley being quoted at the presidential inaugural, it’s necessary to post the following piece that exposes (once again) the fraud (Roots) that Alex Haley perpetrated upon the American people, and the willingness of the media in covering it up for him, and once again pimping it for political purposes.
Haley not only lost a high-profile plagiarism suit against his work in “Roots, but any serious look into the Haley family’s genealogy has found — and I’m being generous — that large portions of what was sold as non-fiction cannot be verified. Charges that “Roots” was largely a work of fiction sold as history have been around for decades now.
The man who sued Haley for plagiarism, author Harold Courlander, won in a rout:
In his Expert Witness Report submitted to federal court, Professor of English Michael Wood of Columbia University stated: “The evidence of copying from The African in both the novel and the television dramatization of Roots is clear and irrefutable. The copying is significant and extensive. …
After a five-week trial in federal district court, Courlander and Haley settled the case with a financial settlement and a statement that “Alex Haley acknowledges and regrets that various materials from The African by Harold Courlander found their way into his book, Roots.” …
During the trial, Alex Haley had maintained that he had not read The African before writing Roots. Shortly after the trial, however, a minority studies teacher at Skidmore College, Joseph Bruchac, came forward and swore in an affidavit that he had discussed The African with Haley in 1970 or 1971 and had given his own personal copy of The African to Haley, events that took place a good number of years prior to the publication of Roots.
In a 2002 column, Stanley Crouch summed it up:
In the early 1980s, when Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” was speaking at Lincoln Center, investigative reporter Philip Nobile asked him a straightforward question. Since he had paid Harold Courlander $650,000 in a plagiarism suit, why shouldn’t Haley be considered a criminal instead of a hero?
Haley had no answer. Well, what would you expect from someone who had pulled off one of the biggest con jobs in U.S. literary history?
Yet the “Roots” hoax has sustained itself. Every PBS station in America refused to show the 1997 BBC documentary inspired by Nobile’s reporting on the book. And tonight NBC will air a retrospective on the 25th anniversary of the popular TV miniseries.
That same year — the year the left-wing media was gushing over the 25th anniversary of the miniseries.