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Distinguished American

In America and throughout much of the world Alex Haley is revered as one of the truly great personalities of this century. An exceptional human being of unusual talent, he is an eloquent spokesman for human dignity and racial pride, an individual who shares his gift unselfishly and untiringly for the enlightenment and enjoyment of others.

As a young man serving in the United States Coast Guard, Alex Haley came to respect the power of the written word and taught himself to put words together in ways that would inform and inspire. His self-taught efforts eventually earned him the admiration of the literary world at home and abroad. Upon his retirement from the military, Mr. Haley became a full-time magazine writer. With Malcolm X, he wrote his first book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, which was selected as one of the ten best American books of the 1960's.

After a long, intensive and challenging ordeal of researching the maternal side of his family, Alex Haley eventually traced his origins back across 200 years and six generations. He documented his search in the monumental literary masterpiece, Roots, which became the biggest best-seller in United States publishing history. Published worldwide in thirty-seven language translations, Roots has sold over six million copies.

When ABC network television filmed the docu-drama Roots into a 12-hour mini-series, another phenomenon occurred. Its seven-night run attracted over 130 million viewers, the greatest program audience in television history.

Alex Haley's writing has won him America's two topmost writing awards--the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award--fitting honors to a quest that started more than 200 years ago in the hold of a slave ship.

The EDGES Group shares the world's pride in Alex Haley's singular achievements, his service to his people and his indomitable strength of heart and spirit as it echoes the words of Senegalese President Senghor: Alex Haley, "You have stirred us deeply because you have revealed us to ourselves."

America is stronger as a nation and we as a people because the distinguished American, Alex Haley, has made us more sensitive as individuals to the dignity and worth of us all.

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Luncheon Committee

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[[caption]] James G. Barringer Chairman [[/caption]]

Vice Chairpersons
FREDERICKA MACKENZIE 
WALTER C. VERTREACE

GEORGE L. BROWN
EDWARD M. BYRD
DOLLY CHRISTIAN
RUTH ALLEN KING
DEE MATTHEWS
ART MILES
WALLACE W. PRICE
GLORIA TUCKER-MORROW

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