Alex Haley

Haley meeting with students

Alex Haley meeting with students after his 1977 talk in the Field House.

Alex Haley’s 1976 epic tale of his ancestors’ struggle, Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” took the world by storm when the ground-breaking mini-series aired in 1977. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author took WashU by storm as well when he visited campus.

Here are some pearls of wisdom from his 1977 Assembly Series presentation:

“All of us here, all of us anywhere, can really separate ourselves into two groups: those who find ourselves in a position of needing help, and those of us so fortunate we can help others. We have no less a mandate to help others, it’s an investment in human beings.”

“My grandmother used to say: ‘The Lord might not come when you expect him to, but He will always be on time.'”

“God has given us a physical earth, and he’s given us as individusls capacities with which we collectively could have created a living utopia. When one looks at what we’ve done instead with it, we should fall on our knees and beg forgiveness…”

“It is grandparents, more than anybody else, who sprinkle stardust over the lives of children.”