Haley, Alex 1972-11-10

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Various speakers describe the legal, technical, practical and educational aspects of collecting oral history at the National Oral History Colloquim. Alex Haley, author of Roots, discusses the importance and use of oral history in researching and writing that historical novel. David Murrah discusses the Junior Historians program. Note: See "Black History, Oral History and Genealogy" by Alex Haley in Oral History Review (1973).

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Alex Haley

Additional Parties Recorded:

Date: November 10, 1972

Location: Austin, Texas

Interviewer: National Oral History Association Colloquium

Length: 5 hours, 10 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: Introduction, Legal aspects of oral history, Libel research, Techniques in collecting oral history, Proper legal counsel, Contracts, Copyright, Libel.

Tape 1, Side 2: Use of preventative law in oral history, Legal problems in oral history, Collection of materials and interview agreements, Storage and duplication of materials and copyright, Publication of materials, Arrangements between institutions, Preventative law, Publication of libel.

Tape 2, Side 1: Legal problems in oral history (continued), Contracts, Importance of oral history, Study of folk songs, Biographies of non-public or common people, Oral history research methods, Project on lumber history and topical collections, Development of Foxfire magazine.

Tape 2, Side 2: Development of Foxfire magazine (continued), Local folklore history and life, Self-sufficiency, Popularity of Foxfire books, Appeals of folklore, Problems, Involvement of students.

Tape 3, Side 1: Preservation of history and skills, Decline of rural areas, Preservation with oral history, Historical importance of rural towns, Idealizations, Need for studying rural decline, Alex Haley (speaker), Oral history background of Roots, Narrative family history, Attempts to preserve native language.

Tape 3, Side 2: Writing experience, Coast Guard letter-writing, Self-discipline, Freelance writing, Interviewing for Playboy, Ghostwriting Malcolm X autobiography, Research for Roots, Language study, Trip to Africa, African oral history, Saturation research.

Tape 4, Side 1: Alex Haley (continued), Research for Roots (continued), Saturation research (continued), Second trip to Africa, History of the slave trade.

Tape 4, Side 2: Alex Haley (continued), Writing Roots, Search for slave ship records, Promotion of black genealogical interests, Derivative black history, Miscegenation.

Tape 5, Side 1: Alex Haley (continued), Trip to Ireland, Junior Historians, Workshops, Chapter organization, Educational and community support, Promotion of Junior Historians, Applicability of Junior Historians, Interviewing techniques.

Tape 5, Side 2: Historical photography, Preservation of negatives and prints, Photographic methods, Addition of photography to oral history, Technology.

Tape 6, Side 1: Historical photography (continued).

Tape 6, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1707-1972

Bulk Dates: 1960-1972

Access Information

Original Recording Format:

Recording Format Notes:


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