Queen: The Story of an American Family
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It brought back to the consciousness of many white Americans the plight of the children of the plantation: the offspring of black slave women and their white masters, who were legally the property of their fathers.
The noted author Alex Haley (1921–1992) was the grandson of Queen, the illegitimate and unacknowledged daughter of James "Jass" Jackson III (the son of a friend, but not a relative, of Andrew Jackson) and his slave, Easter.
The novel recounts Queen's anguished early years as a slave girl, longing to know who her father was, and how it gradually dawned on her that he was her master. After the American Civil War of 1861 to 1865 and the subsequent abolition of slavery, Queen was cast out. Jass Jackson would not acknowledge her as his daughter, afraid of compromising the inheritance of his legitimate children and goaded by his wife, who despised Queen. After many adventures, often unpleasant, she married a reasonably successful former slave by the name of Alec Haley, and had one son by him (Simon Haley). Alec and Queen each had a son from previous relationships.
Simon Haley later went to attend Lane College CME church located in Jackson, Tennessee and earned his master's degree at Cornell University. He then went on become Dean of Agriculture of AM&N College. He then met his wife, Bertha Palmer, and gave his mother, Queen Jackson Haley, three grand children: George, who became a lawyer, Julius, an architect, and Alex who became a writer.
Alex Haley, her grandson, was unable to finish writing Queen before he died, and it was completed by David Stevens. While Stevens benefited from the many boxes of research notes and a 700-page outline of the story left behind by Haley, he would later say that his writing was guided mainly by their many long conversations.
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