The front porch was often the place where young Haley heard the oral accounts of family history, including stories of Kunta Kinte, the young Mandingo man captured near his West African home. These stories inspired Haley to write about his ancestry in a book called Roots. This 1976 Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been translated into over 30 languages and has had great influence in stimulating the study of genealogy. Roots was adapted for an eight-part television series, which became one of the most popular programs in television history.
On December 14, 1978, the Alex Haley House was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It has attracted scholars and other visitors from around the world. Haley is buried on the grounds.