“The late Alex Haley, the author of 'Roots,' lived his life by these six words: 'Find the good and praise it,'" Alexander said. “Today we praise the American tradition of transferring or reaffirming immense power as we inaugurate the president of the United States."
It was not a surprising choice for those who have followed Alexander's career. The Tennessee Republican and the celebrated author were good friends. During his second term as governor, Alexander invited Haley to co-chair a homecoming celebration for Tennesseans. During the planning, Haley was convinced to move back to the state. The two once traveled for weeks on a cargo ship together, both working on books. Alexander has called Haley “the greatest storyteller Tennessee has ever produced.”
He's also used that particular Haley quote in numerous speeches. "You can't work or even be around Sen. Alexander for very long without hearing him quote his friend Alex Haley," former aide Laura Lefler Herzog once wrote.