ROOTS: Alexander Murray Palmer Haley and Other February 10 Black History Making Moments

 “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage- to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness…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… Roots is not just a saga of my family. It is the symbolic saga of a people… When you start about family, about lineage and ancestry, you are talking about every person on earth… Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic. It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics… Either you deal with what is the reality, or you can be sure that the reality is going to deal with you…find the good and praise it


Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born on August 11, 1921 in Ithaca, New York. He was the oldest child of Simon Alexander and Bertha Palmer Haley. At the time of his birth, his father was a graduate student at Cornell University and his mother was a music teacher.

As a young boy, Alex Haley first learned of his African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, by listening to the family stories of his maternal grandparants while spending his summers in Henning, Tennessee. According to family history, Kunta Kinte landed with other Gambian Africans in “Naplis” (Annapolis, Maryland) where he was sold into slavery.

Alex Haley’s quest to learn more about his family history resulted in his writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Roots. The book has been published in 37 languages, and was made into the first week-long television mini-series, viewed by an estimated 130 million people. Roots also generated widespread interest in genealogy.

Haley’s writing career began after he entered the U.S. Coast Guard in 1939. Haley was the first member of the U.S. Coast Guard with a Journalist designation (rating). In 1999 the U.S. Coast Guard honored Haley by naming a Coast Guard Cutter after him. Haley’s personal motto, “Find the Good and Praise It,” appears on the ship’s emblem. He retired from the military after 20 years of service, and then continued writing.

Out of the service, he tried his hand at journalism in the private sector. His first successful article was an interview that appreared in Playboy Magazine in 1962. Haley wrote many well received playboy interviews. He next worked on The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Published in 1965, it became Haley’s first major book.

It was about this time his thoughts then turned back to the family story of the African slave that he heard as a child. His work on the story, which he knew he had to write, became a primary focus of his writing efforts. He details his many years of research in the last chapter of Roots. First referred to asBefore This Anger, it was eventually published in abbreviated form in 1974 by the Reader’s Digest. The completed version of Roots was placed on bookshelves in 1976. The award winning book and 1977 television mini-series introduced Kunta Kinte to the world.

Other Haley publications include A Different Kind of Christmas, a 1990 book about the underground railroad, andQueen, the story of Haley’s paternal ancestors. Queen was produced into a television mini-series, which first aired in the winter of 1993.

Perhaps one of Alex Haley’s greatest gifts was in speaking. He was a fascinating teller of tales. In great demand as a lecturer, both nationally and internationally, he was on a lecture tour in Seattle, Washington in February 1992 when he suffered a heart attack and died.

Despite his passing, he has left a legacy of international stature. Kunta Kinte has become a cultural icon world wide. And, Roots initiated such a widespread interest in genealogy research that Haley is considered to be the father of popular genealogy. 



Today we honor Global Black History in the honoring of Roberta Flack (born February 10, 1937),  Mary Violet Leontyne Price (born February 10, 1927) , Nigeria- the most populous Black Nation in the world making history on many levels today in winning the Africa Cup after 19 years– with a Nigerian coach who was on the last team that won the cup for Nigeria, the home going of Alexander Murray Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) who delivered us our “Roots” and the Autobiography of Malcolm X, and the forward movement of Black people world wide unbought, unbossed and unabashed about being real Black!!! ♥ THYSELF #WhoGotNext

Show a people as 1 thing, as only 1 thing over & over again & that is what they become. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story…when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of  paradise…for all the people who are eager to tell our many stories, Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign,but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity…“  Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie

Internationally hailed as one of the greatest songstresses of our time, GRAMMY Award winning Roberta Flack remains unparalleled in her ability to tell a story through her music. Her songs bring insight into our lives, loves, culture and politics, while effortlessly traversing a broad musical landscape from pop to soul to folk to jazz.

Classically trained on the piano from an early age, Ms. Flack received a music scholarship at age 15 to attend Howard University. Discovered while singing at the Washington, DC nightclub Mr. Henry’s by jazz musician Les McCann, she was promptly signed to Atlantic With a string of hits, including, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Where Is the Love (a duet with former Howard University classmate Donny Hathaway), Killing Me Softly With His Song, Feel Like Makin’ Love, The Closer I Get to You, Tonight I Celebrate My Love, and Set the Night to Music, Ms. Flack has built a musical legacy. In 1999, she aptly received a Star on Hollywood’s legendary Walk of Fame.

Roberta is currently involved with a very exciting studio venture — an interpretive album of Beatles’ classics.

She regularly plays to appreciative audiences around the world, and had the pleasure of appearing recently with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. In February 2009, Ms. Flack performed with critically acclaimed orchestras in Australia, including the Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide, Tasmanian, West Australian and Sydney Symphonies.

Very active as a humanitarian and mentor, Ms. Flack founded the Roberta Flack School of Music at the Hyde Leadership Charter School in the Bronx, providing an innovative and inspiring music education program to underprivileged students free of charge. READ MORE 

Born in Laurel, Mississippi on this Day February 10, 1927 Mary Violet Leontyne Price, operatic soprano. Price earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Central State College in 1948 and her first important stage performance was in the 1952 production of “Falstaff.” On January 23, 1955, she became the first black person to appear in televised opera when she sang the title role in “Tosca” for NBC-TV Opera. Several NBC affiliates cancelled the broadcast in protest. Price made her opera house debut in 1957 in “Dialogues des Carmelites” in San Francisco. In the late 1960s, Price cut back on opera in favor of recitals and concerts. In January, 1973, she sang “Onward Christian Soldier” at the state funeral of President Lyndon B. Johnson. Price gave her operatic farewell in 1985 and her last recital in 1997. Also in 1997, she wrote a children’s book version of “Aida,” which became the basis for a hit Broadway musical. Among her many honors are the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, presented by President Johnson September 14, 1964, the NAACP Spingarn Medal in 1965, Kennedy Center Honors in 1980, the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor bestowed on an individual artist by the United States, presented by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, numerous honorary degrees, and 19 Grammy Awards, including  including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. (SOURCE)

YES O!!! It is Sunday’s Day… Congratulations Super Eagles…..AFCON 2013 Champions! Sunday Mba’s first-half strike settled the final and earned Nigeria a third Africa Cup of Nations victory to be once again Africa’s super powerCoach Keshi who was on the team that last won the Cup for Nigeria did what Coach Appiah who was also on the team that last won the cup for Ghana couldn’t do! #CoachesMatterJustAsMuchAsthePlayers! Never underestimate the power of sports because today Nigerians are rejoicing as one nation, not as separated tribes and religions. Even with Nigeria’s never ending light offs that celebration will not be detoured nor deferred!

They waited 19 years. “I don’t know what to say. I’m just happy.” Sunday Mba, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Vincent Enyeama led Nigeria to victory over Burkina Faso, righting a wrong for one of the most talented group of players Nigeria has ever seen. Moses was dominant, creating several chances for his teammates. Though he wasn’t busy, Enyeama made a few huge stops. Burkina Faso’s Cinderella story ends with heartbreak, but the nation many had written off before the tournament began almost achieved the impossible. The finished third in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010. Stephen Keshi, who played in five AFCON tournaments himself, has done what his predecessors could not: win the big games. READ MORE

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