Marcia Chatelain, Les Payne and Tamara Payne are the Writers of African descent who won at the Pulitzer Prize 2021 announced today, June 11, 2021.

The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition held annually in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph Pulitzer, who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher, and is administered by Columbia University. The prize is worth US$15,000 to winners in each of the categories awarded. Previous winners include William Faulkner, John Updike, and Colson Whitehead.

The winners announced today include those in the following categories;


  • Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America by Marcia Chatelain (Liveright/Norton)

Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America is the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America. Marcia Chatelain is a Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Georgetown University. The author of South Side Girls: Growing up in the Great Migration (Duke University Press, 2015) she teaches about women’s and girls’ history, as well as black capitalism.

Marcia Chatelain’s first response was to state on Twitter, “Wait, what?”


  • The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by the late Les Payne and Tamara Payne (Liveright/Norton)

With The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X, Les Payne the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist, embarked in 1990 on a nearly thirty-year-long quest to interview anyone he could find who had actually known Malcolm X. Introduced by Payne’s daughter and primary researcher, Tamara Payne, who, following her father’s death, heroically completed the biography, The Dead Are Arising is a penetrating and riveting work that affirms the centrality of Malcolm X to the African American freedom struggle.

The book has been recognised at the US National Book Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes, and National Book Critics Circle Awards.