by Clennon “Wayne” Murray and Brandon Murray —
The highly anticipated and long-awaited Murray-Haley Family Reunion is set for July 20 through July 23 and will spread over Memphis, Henning and Ripley.
The planning of the reunion event was initially discussed with the late William (Bill) Alexander Haley, Sr. in 2011 and was planned for the summer of 2013. It was, he said, time to have another family reunion because the last significant get-together was held when his father, Alexander (Alex) Murray Palmer Haley, was alive in July of 1982.
Family members from various parts of the United States have assembled a reunion planning committee and are ready for this momentous occasion this summer. We envision it as one of the most significant Murray-Haley family reunions of the last four decades.
The itinerary has been strategically planned to cover a wide array of activities focusing on the heritage of the Murray-Haley family and other historical sites in the area. We’re planning on visiting:
- Alex Haley Museum & Interpretive Center (Henning)
- Bethlehem Cemetery (Henning)
- West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center & Tina Turner Museum (Brownsville)
- Family Reunion Picnic at Ripley City Park (Ripley)
- Full Gospel Tabernacle Church (The Rev. Al Green’s Church) in Memphis
Alex Haley’s boyhood home, now The Alex Haley Museum, is where the 1977 Pulitzer Prize-winning author lived with his grandparents (1921-29). On the front porch, young Haley listened to his relatives tell family stories.
During long summer evenings, young Alex sat engrossed in the tales of his ancestors, who were brought to America as slaves. It’s where he learned about Kunta Kinte, Queen and Chicken George.
His imagination was stirred, and he never forgot what he heard. When Alex grew up, he used those stories to author the book we all know as “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” (1976). It sparked interest in people around the world wanting to find their own family history.
In 1977, the television adaptation titled “Roots” led to a cultural sensation in the United States, racking up over 40 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and eight wins and becoming one of the most-watched TV mini-series of all time.
The award-winning series was followed by “Roots: The Next Generation” (1979) and “Roots: The Gift” (1988), which was a Christmas movie special.” Alex Haley’s Queen” (1993) was another mini-series based on Alex’s family (his paternal grandmother). In 2016, the History channel created “Roots”, a remake of the original 1977 mini-series with the same name.
Alex passed away on February 10th, 1992. His legacy lives on. The Alex Haley Museum and Interpretive Center features a plethora of family memorabilia, artifacts, and more.
If there are any family and friends interested in sharing and participating in this momentous occasion, please contact The Murray-Haley Reunion Team/Committee at [email protected].