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Alex Haley's Widow Wins Estate Battle

April 28, 1994| Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Alex Haley's widow has won a share of his estate and the right to complete his two unfinished books.

"It's a glorious day, is what it is," Myran Haley said after the verdict Tuesday. The completion of both works would be "a dream come true," she added.

Haley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Roots: The Saga of an American Family," died in 1992 at age 70.

He left three books unfinished: "Queen," which was later published and turned into a TV miniseries; "Henning," an autobiography; and "Madame C. J. Walker," about the first African American woman to become a millionaire.

Mrs. Haley, his literary collaborator, argued that a 1991 contract gave her a third of Haley's estate and the right to conclude the books' unfinished chapters.

The executors of Haley's estate, led by his brother, George Haley, argued that the contract was unenforceable because Haley signed it under duress. The contract was signed after Mrs. Haley sued for divorce, but the couple were still married when Haley died.

A Chancery Court jury decided Haley was under duress when he signed the agreement, but that it did not make any difference. The jury said he would have signed it anyway.

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