Alex Haley Home and Museum

200 South Church Street, Henning, Tennessee 38041

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $2.50; children 6 to 16, $1.00
Telephone: (901) 738-2240

"The front porch of this home is, in fact, the birthplace of Roots," said Haley. This ten-room bungalow, constructed from 1918 to 1921 by Haley's grandfather, Will E. Palmer, has been restored to model the home as it was when Haley was born. Some of the 1919 furniture which decorates the home belonged to the Haley's family.

When Haley was six weeks old, his father and mother showed up, quite unexpectedly, on the front porch of this Southern home. Haley's maternal grandparents had received no correspondence with their daughter since she and her husband had gone away to college in Ithaca, New York. Imagine their surprise when they answered the knock on the door and saw their daughter, son-in-law, and a grandchild.

Here, just 35 miles north of Memphis, Haley grew up under the supervision of the Palmers. His doting grandparents reared Alex in a loving, family-centered home. Many days Alex sat and listened attentively as relatives told stories about his ancestors. It was on this front porch that he heard about Kunte Kinte and Queenie. And here, in Henning, Tennessee, Haley's roots as a master storyteller began.

Haley's childhood home is the first state-owned historic site devoted to the African-American in Tennessee. Displayed throughout the house are photographs and memorabilia from the Haley family. A gift shop is also open during tour hours.

A foundation to honor and encourage interest in Haley and the Kinte family has been established. The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation provides historical information as well as contemporary news such as the recent commissioning of a 282-foot Coast Guard Cutter to the honor of Haley. Internet tourists will also find at this site information about ways to support and receive benefits from the foundation.
The Kunta Kinte Heritage Festival is an event held annually in Maryland. At this Internet Web site, you will find information about previous events and plans for future festivals.

Alexander Palmer Haley (1921-1992)

In 1959, at the end of his military career, Alex Haley chose to support his family as a freelance writer. His success came when he accepted a position with Playboy as a staff writer. In that position, he interviewed Malcom X and went on to write his first book, The Autobiography of Malcom X (1965).

Haley was born on August 11, 1921, in Ithaca, New York, where his parents were attending college, both in their first year of graduate study. Six weeks after Haley's birth, his parents moved him back to his grandparents' home in Henning, Tennessee. Haley graduated from high school when he was 15 years old. He enlisted in the United States Coast Guard in 1939, after completing two years of college. Haley married twice--first to Nannie Branch and then to Juliette Collins; he had three children.