Roots

Criticism

Plagiarism

In the spring of 1977, Haley was charged with plagiarism in separate lawsuits by Harold Courlander and Margaret Walker Alexander. Courlander, an anthropologist, charged that Roots was copied largely from his novel The African (1967). Walker claimed that Haley had plagiarized from her Civil War-era novel, Jubilee (1966). Legal proceedings in each case were concluded late in 1978. Courlander's suit was settled out of court for $650,000 and an acknowledgment from Haley that certain passages within Roots were copied from The African.[14] Haley claimed that the appropriation of Courlander's passages had been unintentional.[15] Walker's case was dismissed by the court, which, in comparing the content of Roots with that of Jubilee, found that "no actionable similarities exist between the works."[16][17]


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