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Taylor Branch

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63

Simon & Schuster

1989 Nonfiction

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63
Taylor Branch received the Anisfield-Wolf Award in 1989 for Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963. A sweeping and authoritative examination of the work and days of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Branch's book also won the Pulitzer Prize for history. He has since published the second volume of that history, Pillar of Fire (1997), which covers the years 1963-1965. A third book, on King's last years, is expected soon.

Born in 1947 in Atlanta, Branch attended the University of North Carolina, then did graduate work at Princeton. He dates his interest in politics to the 1963 racial violence in Birmingham, Alabama – an awakening that led him in 1969 to work registering voters in rural Georgia. The diary he kept during those months (and later turned in to unimpressed professors) found its way to Washington Monthly, which hired him as a writer and thus launched an unexpected career. He went on to write a study of corporate whistle-blowers, and to ghost-write the autobiographies of Watergate figure John Dean and NBA star Bill Russell, as well as contribute occasional speeches to Democratic politicians.

Contributed By: Kate Tuttle

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Blog Posts about Taylor Branch

"I Have A Dream": Collections of Martin Luther King Links From Around The Web

Taylor Branch and Isabel Wilkerson were special guests of the Diane Rehm Show on NPR to discuss Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy. One of our favorite quotes from the episode, from Isabel Wilkerson: "Ultimately, what Martin Luther King and the thousands upon thousands of unnamed, unknown people who buttressed his strength and his courage, what they were fighting was a structure that needed to be dismantled in order for justice to prevail in the South."  Lani Guinier, the first black woman to be appointed to a tenured professorship at... Read More →

VIDEO: Taylor Branch On

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Anisfield-Wolf Guide To Black History Month

Black History Month is but one period out of the year where we focus on the accomplishments and contributions of those of the African Diaspora. We believe that the world is a richer place when we celebrate our rich cultural diversity, as evidenced by our dedication to selecting books that contribute to the dialogue. It's hard for us to select our favorite books out of the Anisfield-Wolf library, so instead we will choose books that give great insight into the triumphs and challenges of African Americans. Share this list with your colleagues... Read More →
  • Taylor Branch

    Taylor Branch

    Born: 1947

    www.TaylorBranch.com

    Other Works

    • Blowing the Whistle: Dissent in the Public Interest (1972)
    • Labyrinth (1982)
    • Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65 (1998)
    • At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006)
    • The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (2009)

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