History Book Festival Presents Tamara Payne | The Dead Are Arising


In collaboration with the History Book Festival, join us for a talk with Tamara Payne, co-author of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, the Non-Fiction Closing event for the 2021 virtual History Book Festival. Peniel E. Joseph will be in conversation with Tamara Payne during the event.

This best-selling, award-winning biography by Les Payne and Tamara Payne is the culmination of nearly 30 years of exhaustive research and hundreds of hours of interviews conducted with then still-living immediate family and contemporaries of the legendary Black leader, Malcolm X. With access to such important figures as Malcolm’s siblings, classmates, former ministers of the Nation of Islam, collaborators, street buddies, and even the men falsely imprisoned for his murder, the book presents a deeply nuanced and unprecedented portrait of how “East Lansing Red” gave way to “Detroit Red” and ultimately begat the icon, “X.” 

Here is Malcolm Little in his formative years, whose father, a fearless supporter of the Black nationalist Marcus Garvey, was run over by a streetcar in 1931 (though the insurance company evaded payment by claiming it was a suicide) and whose equally forceful mother was penniless but determined to hold her family together before succumbing to mental illness. The book offers new revelations on milestones in Malcolm’s life: the years in Boston and Harlem as drug dealer, pimp, and burglar; the religious awakening and conversion to Islam in a Massachusetts penitentiary; the bizarre 1961 “summit” with the KKK; and the final minutes leading up to his assassination in New York’s Audubon Ballroom in 1965. In this comprehensive work, the Paynes have greatly expanded our understanding of Malcolm X’s life, placing him within the larger arc of African American history.

The Dead Are Arising has won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work — Biography. 

Les Payne (1941–2018) was a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, foreign correspondent, and editor at Newsday. A founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, he also wrote an award-winning syndicated column. Payne first heard Malcolm X’s galvanizing oratory at a rally in 1963. That experience never left him. Aware that time was running out to record the shrinking inner circle of people who knew Malcolm throughout his life, Payne worked to document their stories and observations for posterity.

Tamara Payne served as her father’s principal researcher while working in commercial real estate, and she completed The Dead Are Arising following his death in March 2018. She is a graduate of William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., who previously worked for PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour” and taught English in China. 

Peniel E. Joseph is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and currently serves as the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Joseph has written several books on African American history, including The Sword and The Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., one of TIME magazine’s “100 Must-Read Books of 2020.”

We invite you to support the author by purchasing copy of their book from Browseabout Books. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed bookplate.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email the History Book Festival.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for this session. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.

Event date: 
Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event address: 
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971