A. Peter Bailey, journalist, historian, and activist, was born on February 24, 1938, in Columbus, Georgia, to Upson Bailey, Sr. of Randolph County, Alabama, and Alga McFarlane Bailey of Birmingham. He was, however, raised in Tuskegee, Alabama. He attended Tuskegee’s Saint Joseph Catholic School from the first grade in 1944 until the eighth grade in 1952. He attended Tuskegee Institute High School before moving to Nuremberg, Germany, where his father was stationed in the military, in 1953. In 1955, Peter graduated from Nuremberg American High School. He was the youngest of two brothers and seven sisters.
Bailey served in the United States Army from 1956 until 1959. He joined at Howard University after obtaining an honorary discharge and stayed until 1962. Bailey moved to Harlem that year and became close friends with civil rights activist Malcolm X. Bailey joined the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) in 1964 and served as editor of the organization’s periodical, Blacklash. He worked closely with Malcolm X in the OAAU, and he was one of the pallbearers at Malcolm X’s funeral in 1965.
Bailey worked as an associate editor for Ebony magazine in New York City from 1968 to 1975. He was associate director of the Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) from 1975 to 1981 and a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee during the 1975-76 Broadway season.
Bailey was elected president of the New York Association of Black Journalists in 1983 and served in that capacity until 1985.
Bailey has written and co-written several books, including Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Autobiography with Alvin Ailey (1995), Seventh Child: A Family Memoir with Rodnell Collins (2000), and Witnessing Brother Malcolm X: The Master Teacher, with Alvin Ailey (2013).
Bailey has lectured about Malcolm X’s work at over 40 academic institutions and libraries across the United States, and he has worked as an Adjunct Professor of Journalism at Hunter College, the University of the District of Columbia, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A. Peter Bailey lives in Washington, DC with his two sons, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. In 2021. He continues to write, most recently for the Florida Courier and The Washington Informer.