1976), the bestselling Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Arthur Alex Haley,
was translated into 37 languages and made into the first week-long television
mini-series. When the novel was first published in 1976, it touched
a deep chord in many African American students at Northeastern. In the
winter of 1977, Northeastern was one of 500 universities and colleges
nation-wide to offer a Roots course.
Alex Haley at Press Conference
On April 7, 1977, Haley spoke
at the African-American
Institute’s first annual lecture. He was introduced by Terri
Caldwell, a student who had taken the Roots course.
During his address, Haley
shared the reasons he spent 12 years and over $80,000 to uncover the
stories of his African ancestors. He suggested the need to strengthen
the American family unit and stressed the importance of knowing the
history and origins of those who came before you.