Author of Roots, the story about a young slave named Kunte Kinte, searching for his ancestry in Africa. He received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
He enlisted in the Coast Guard for 21 years, first as a mess attendant and then as a Petty Officer Third Class in the rate of Steward.
With the help of Malcolm X, he wrote the Autobiography of Malcolm X.
He was born in Ithaca, NY and had three younger siblings.
He once interviewed jazz musician Miles Davis for Playboy Magazine.
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