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Additional info for Alex Haley: Author (Black Americans of Achievement)
At Sea Broke and discouraged, Haley sought friendship and support from other writers in the community whose work he admired. At one point, he wrote to six prominent black writers living in the Village, asking for advice and encouragement. The only one to respond was James Baldwin, the highly respected author of Go Tell It on the Mountain. Receiving Haley’s letter and sensing the young man’s desperation, Baldwin, as Haley later remembered gratefully, “who didn’t know me from Adam, came right over, and spent hours talking to me, cheering me up.
Because of the angry reaction of Muhammad and many of his followers to Malcolm X’s new ideas, he also began to fear for his life. From the time of his trip to Mecca until the end of his life, Malcolm X was at the center of world news. Increasingly, he and Haley found fewer opportunities to meet, and when they did, the conversation was usually dominated by the pressures and frustrations of the day. The cost of their chosen lifestyles was weighing heavily on both men. Haley’s marriage to Nannie Branch had ended in 1964 after more than 20 years, a victim of Haley’s extended absences and unrelenting focus on his writing.
The years following his mother’s death were not an easy time for Alex. If his uncharacteristic silence regarding the period is any indication of his feelings, he never really recovered from the loss of his mother, nor would he ever fully adjust to his father’s remarriage when he was 12 years old. As 21 22 ALEX HALEY Alex approached adolescence, his father’s well-intentioned demands began to take their toll. The two often quarreled, with Alex growing more and more restless and dissatisfied with his father’s old-fashioned values and endless pressure to conform.
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