Journalist and author A. Peter Bailey was born on February 24, 1938 in Columbus, Georgia to Upson and Alga Bailey. He was raised in Tuskegee, Alabama, and attended Tuskegee Institute High School, but graduated from Nuremberg American High School in Germany in 1955. Bailey served in the U.S. Army from 1956 to 1959, and went on to attend Howard University until 1961.
In 1962, Bailey moved to Harlem, New York City; and, in 1964, became a founding member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), where he was editor of the OAAU newsletter, Blacklash. From 1968 to 1975, he worked as associate editor for Ebony magazine. From 1975 to 1981, Bailey served as associate director of the Black Theatre Alliance (BTA), where he also edited the BTA Newsletter. He has also contributed articles to numerous publications including Essence, Black Enterprise, Jet, The New York Times, the Negro Digest, Black World, The Black Collegian, and the New York Daily News. He also writes a bi-monthly column for the Trice-Edney Wire Service.
Bailey has lectured on Malcolm X at thirty-five colleges and universities, and taught as an adjunct professor at Hunter College, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of the District of Columbia. In addition, he has written the play, Malcolm, Martin, Medgar, which has been presented at several staged readings. He is the author of Witnessing Brother Malcolm X, The Master Teacher: A Memoir; Harlem: Precious Memories, Great Expectations; co-author of Revelations: The Autobiography of Alvin Ailey with Alvin Ailey; and co-author of Seventh Child: A Family Memoir of Malcolm X with Rodnell P. Collins.
Bailey served as president of the New York Association of Black Journalists from 1983 to 1985, and was a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee in the 1975-76 Broadway season. He also served on the board of the Bethune-DuBois Institute, and is a member of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Bailey has received several awards, including Lifetime Achievement awards from the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the New York Association of Black Journalists.
A. Peter Bailey was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 18, 2014.