FLASHBACK - Amazing 'Roots' returns after 40 years, dredging up Alex Haley plagiarism scandal | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


FLASHBACK - Amazing 'Roots' returns after 40 years, dredging up Alex Haley plagiarism scandal

For all the glory, accolades and accomplishments, "Roots" is still deeply rooted in controversy.

Alex Haley, the author of the celebrated book, said it was based on his own family history. But Haley, who died in 1992, was famously accused of plagiarizing parts of the Pulitzer-winning "Roots" — and settled a very public lawsuit brought against him by another writer.

Harold Courlander, who was white, wrote a novel called "The African" in 1967. The book had a similar story of a slave's capture in Africa, his horrific experience as cargo on a ship and his struggle to hold on to his native culture in a harsh new world.

While there are major differences between the two books, Courlander and several expert witnesses testified that Haley had used "The African" as source material — both for his 1976 book and the 1977 TV miniseries, which was seen by about 140 million viewers.

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