Why the Racism-Industrial-Complex refuses to let the lie die.
In May, the History Channel will air its remake of Alex Haley’s Roots: The Saga of An American Family.
Unsurprisingly, the advertising for the broadcast fails to mention that Roots is a fake, and a fake of the first order.
First of all, the book upon which the successful mini-series was based was actually authored by Murray Fisher, Alex Haley’s editor from Playboy magazine.
Secondly, Roots wasn’t just ghost-written; it was plagiarized: In 1978, Judge Robert Ward concluded that Haley had stolen the idea for Roots from Harry Courlander, the white man who authored The African. Courlander charged Haley with having “copied [from his book] language, thoughts, attitudes, incidents, situations, plot and character.”
In spite of having initially denied it, Haley ultimately acknowledged that he lifted from The African verbatim at least 81 passages.
He settled with Courlander out of court by agreeing to pay him the equivalent of 2 million dollars in today’s terms ($650,000).
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