Museum renovation, book re-release honor late author Haley

HENNING, Tenn. – Find the good and praise it.

It is really a phrase the late Alex Haley, author of the 1976 novel “Roots: The Saga of an American Family members,” frequently mentioned in the course of his lifetime, from his days residing in the smaller West Tennessee town of Henning as a result of his entire world travels as a journalist and writer. His seminal book about the horrors and injustices of slavery incorporate messages of perseverance, bravery and toughness.

Now, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, the author’s bridge-setting up legacy is being invoked when again as a variety of antidote to an specially contentious interval of American life. A ribbon-slicing at the renovated Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Heart took position Friday, and a local community celebration featuring music, food stuff and a fashion clearly show is scheduled Saturday.

Haley’s lifetime was filled with illustrations of residing by those people phrases. There was the time he encouraged near mate Fred Montgomery to turn into his hometown’s initial Black mayor, pushing back again at resistance from some of the town’s white populace.


Haley, who was Black and died in 1992, also is remembered in this month’s re-launch of a 2003 ebook entitled “Finding the Superior,” by former Involved Push journalist Lucas L. Johnson II.

Johnson’s e book discusses the life of Montgomery, who befriended Haley in Henning. As youthful boys, they would swim alongside one another and generate appreciate poems to ladies. Haley had preferred to compose a ebook about Montgomery, who was born into a family of sharecroppers and endured racism in the Jim Crow South right before turning out to be a profitable plumber, farm operator, alderman and mayor. Johnson weaves Montgomery’s story with examples from his individual lifetime dealing with racism, family members customers grappling with substance abuse and incarceration, and issues of religion.

Haley is most well regarded for “Roots,” which attained him a Pulitzer Prize and was turned into a Tv miniseries watched by a history-environment 130 million people when it was unveiled in 1977. Haley also wrote “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” primarily based on interviews with the civil rights chief.


The Henning museum and the dwelling where by Haley lived with his grandparents from 1921 to 1929 are state historic web pages.

In his e book, Johnson consists of examples of Haley’s impact on himself and Montgomery. In this month’s re-release, Johnson updates his ebook to bring Haley’s concept of “finding the good” into the context of present-day-working day issues like the coronavirus and the killing of George Floyd, a Black person, by a white law enforcement officer in Minnesota.

“Prayerfully, I started out hunting for the very good,” Johnson writes. “And I observed the inspiring stories of wellness-treatment staff and very first responders — as well as day-to-day people today — who risked their life to help some others.

“I saw individuals who experienced as soon as disregarded the actuality of racism get rid of their blinders, embrace humanity, and function along with non-whites to build alter,” he proceeds. “I saw hope for a truly divided nation.”

“Finding the Good” has been given praise from “Roots” actor Louis Gossett Jr., civil rights chief James M. Lawson Jr., and Bernice A. King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.


The re-release also features a well timed foreword by former Tennessee governor and Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who was good friends with Montgomery and Haley and cites Haley’s inspirational motto.

Alexander, point out and community elected officers, and Haley’s grandson, Monthly bill Haley, attended Friday’s function marking the renovation of the museum, positioned on the grounds of his boyhood residence. The museum sits in close proximity to the locale of a house Haley bought for Montgomery, a different example of Haley “finding the good.” Alexander and other speakers cited Haley’s favored phrase during their remarks.

As a boy, Alex Haley would sit along with his grandmother on the porch of the 10-area, bungalow-fashion dwelling and pay attention to her tell tales about his ancestors.

Bill Haley identified as the home “the non secular centre, the lifeblood” of his grandfather’s fascination in his family’s oral historical past, their roots.

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