Alex Haley & His Service in the Military

Nov 2019
1
North Carolina
Alex Haley’s legacy is forever intertwined with his celebrated novel “Roots”, and his famed autobiography on Malcom X. These two legendary books were the epitome of the African American experience within 20th century America, and transfigured America’s knowledge of African American culture, and life during the Civil Rights Movement. Although Haley did not write or publish his novels within the State of North Carolina, he attended Elizabeth City State Normal College for two years, and enlisted into the Coast Guard while living in Elizabeth City. Though much has been written about Haley, almost nothing exists that examines his 20-year Coastguard career. Interestingly, at a talk held at Elizabeth City State University on February 2, 1984, Haley attributed much of his success to his time spent within the Military. Haley was an African American coastguardsman during an era that routinely discriminated against African Americans within the maritime services and African Americans in general. Overcoming great prejudice, Haley managed to defy the color line by becoming the first Chief Journalist of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), while simultaneously earning a number of outstanding accolades not regularly obtained by African Americans during the mid to late 20th century. Haley was a highly regarded, and well-respected coastguardsmen who overcame great racial division and managed to reap an impressive military career, which he used to elevate the status of African Americans within the military. His fight for civil equality within the USCG not only impacted the lives of the shipmates with which he served with, but also left a permanent mark on racial relations within the organization. Haley's achievements within the Coast Guard are equally as important as the achievements he made outside the military, it is my hope that through this form we can discuss his amazing devotion to duty in order to illuminate his dedication to service and African American progressivism.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
He was obviously an incredible writer from "Autobiography of Malcolm X", and he had a great ability to tell a story. His advancement to Journalist of the Coast Guard is impressive, but also is an indication of the limited opportunities available to him with discrimination and having only the two years at Elizabeth State. He became a writer for major magazines before writing the books.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,536
Everything About him appears to be fake

Shakespeare copied everything from Holinshed's Chronicles, Plutarch's Lives, and so on, but made it better. It was more acceptable back then.

Haley was an incredible writer and story teller. The Malcolm X Autobiography was fake too in a way, as he was a ghostwriter. Malcolm X didn't really write that, but he said it in the interviews and picked Haley to write it. I agree that what he did with Roots was probably unethical, but he was still a great writer. I don't agree that he was all fake.

I don't know if there is much information on what he did in the Coast Guard. Like I implied before, most people who wrote like that for the Coast Guard newspaper wouldn't stay in the Coast Guard long enough to become Journalist of the Coast Guard. That is sort of sad in a way that he probably didn't get other job offers from magazines or whatever until he retired from the Coast Guard.