Journalist, historian, activist A. Peter Bailey was born on February 24, 1938, in Columbus, Georgia, to Upson Bailey, Sr. from Randolph County, Alabama, and Alga McFarlane Bailey from Birmingham. However, he was reared in Tuskegee, Alabama. From the first grade in 1944 to the eighth grade in 1952, he attended Saint Joseph Catholic School in Tuskegee. He graduated from Tuskegee Institute High School before leaving in 1953 for Nuremberg, Germany, where his father was stationed in the military. Peter graduated from Nuremberg American High School in 1955. He had two brothers and seven sisters.
From 1956 to 1959, Bailey was a member of the United States Army. Upon receiving an honorary discharge, he enrolled in Howard University and remained until 1962. That year, Bailey moved to Harlem and became a close personal friend of the Civil Rights activist Malcolm X. In 1964, Bailey became a founding member of the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) and was editor of the organization’s periodical, Blacklash. He worked closely with Malcolm X in the OAAU and in 1965, upon the assassination of Malcolm X, he was one of the pallbearers.
From Bailey 1968 to 1975, Bailey was an associate editor for Ebony magazine in the New York City office. From 1975 to 1981, he was associate director of the Black Theatre Alliance (BTA) and a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee in the 1975-76 Broadway season.
In 1983, Bailey became the president of the New York Association of Black Journalists and remained in that post until 1985.
Bailey has written and co-authored several books, including Revelations: The Autobiography of Alvin Ailey with Alvin Ailey (1995); Seventh Child: A Family Memoir with Rodnell Collins (2000), and Witnessing Brother Malcolm X: The Master Teacher, (2013).
Bailey has lectured at more than 40 academic institutions and libraries, throughout the United States regarding the work of Malcolm X and he has served as Adjunct Professor in Journalism at Hunter College, the University of the District of Columbia, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A. Peter Bailey, the father of two sons, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren, lives in Washington, DC. In 2021. He continues to write and has penned recent articles for the Florida Courier and The Washington Informer.