The 21st Show

Rebroadcast: Digging Into The New Malcolm X Biography


Malcolm X is the subject of a new biography called The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X. It’s a book that Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Les Payne spent decades reporting, speaking with family and others who lived and worked with the man. Payne was also a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

He died in 2018. By then, he’d finished most of a manuscript of a book, and his daughter, Tamara Payne — who’d been principal researcher on the project, picked up the baton and finished the book.

Yale Historian David Blight calls the book “the most lyrical and complete biography of this uniquely brilliant American ever written. This book is a great read, full of original insights about an elusive figure rendered deeply human.” If that’s not endorsement enough, late last year, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X won the National Book Award for nonfiction.

The 21st was joined by Tamara Payne to discuss the life of Malcolm X and what younger activists can learn from him. 


Tamara Payne, Principal Researcher & co-author of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X

Les Payne

Les Payne (pictured above) appearing on Bob Herbert's Op-Ed.TV, 2016. (CUNY)

Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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