[Three typed letters from Alex Haley to Tony Platt, with related materials and an inscribed paperback copy of The Autobiography of Malcolm X]
Norris, TN, etc. 1989-1990. Ephemera. A folder of materials saved by the scholar/activist Tony Platt, recording his interactions with Alex Haley. In October 1989, Platt and Haley met in Sacramento where they discussed James Baldwin and E. Franklin Frazier; Platt typed two pages of notes after the meeting, and sent Haley a letter (carbon copy present here). Haley responded with a single-page typed letter on November 27th, thanking him for materials he had mailed, and relating Haley's relief that he had never entered academia, despite his father's wishes. On December 13, Platt replied with another letter (carbon copy enclosed) asking for permission to quote some lines from Haley in a booklet he was working on. On December 25, Haley wrote back from on board a cargo ship at sea, "my perennial book-writing time and place," with his letter dictated onto a tape and mailed home to be transcribed by an assistant (the signature on this letter is secretarial). On Feb. 21, 1990, Platt replied with thanks (computer printout included here), promising to send the booklet when published. On September 1, 1990, Haley wrote to thank Platt for the booklet, "Racism in Academia." Haley writes, "First I want to thank you for how nicely you handled the quote from me. Very often, quotes get mis-handled, until one gets leery of approving quotes. But you provide a great good example. Secondly, I just want to congratulate you on this booklet's overall content. I know not a great deal about what goes on in academia, but the way that you presented it gave me much insight." Although this letter was also dictated on board a ship, it appears to bear Haley's actual signature. In February 1992, after Haley's death, Platt wrote a memorial piece for the Sacramento Bee (draft and final version included here), which he sent to Haley's family. The final item in the file is a printed note from the family sent out to thank those who had expressed condolences. In addition to this folder of materials, the lot includes a paperback 1989 printing of the Autobiography of Malcolm X, inscribed inside the cover on October 12, 1989 (the day of their meeting in Sacramento), "To Tony Platt, Brotherly Love! Alex Haley."