“The Dead Are Arising”: New Biography on Malcolm X’s Childhood, Killing & Secret Meeting with KKK


We speak with the co-author of a major new biography of Malcolm X, “The Dead Are Arising,” which recently won the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction and offers a sweeping account of Malcolm X’s life by weaving together hundreds of interviews with Malcolm X’s family, friends, colleagues and enemies. The book is based on decades of research by Les Payne, who died in 2018, and finished by his daughter, Tamara Payne. “The reason why he admired Malcolm is because Malcolm was dealing with the conditions that Black people are facing even internally and how we viewed ourselves in this situation,” she says, and describes how her father lived through the civil rights movement and strongly connected with Malcolm X’s teachings.


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