Branch, Taylor.

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Taylor Branch, journalist and historian, is best known for his books chronicling the career of Martin Luther King Jr., and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Raised in Atlanta, Branch attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he became involved in political activism and completed a degree in American history in 1968. While a graduate student at Princeton University, Branch conducted a voter registration campaign among African Americans in rural Georgia. He was editor of "Washington Monthly," 1971-1973, and has been a contributing editor since then. He has also written for "Harper's" and "Esquire" magazines and is the author or co-author of several books. He advised President Bill Clinton on race-related issues.

From the description of Taylor Branch papers, 1865-2009 (bulk 1958-2009). (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 52872663

Journalist and historian Taylor Branch has written several books, including three volumes on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s: Parting the Waters : America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988), Pillar of Fire : America in the King Years, 1963-65 (1998), and At Canaan's Edge : America in the King Years, 1965-68 (2006). He also wrote The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President (2009), which was based on interviews conducted by Branch with President Bill Clinton during and after his presidency. Branch was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1989 and a MacArthur Foundation genius grant in 1991 in recognition for his achievements as a historian.

A native of Atlanta, Branch was raised in a middle-class white family and became interested in race relations during his high school years. He has commented that television images of police brutality directed against demonstrators in Birmingham in 1963 shocked him and motivated him to become involved in the civil rights movement. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was integrated while he was a student there, and completed a degree in American history in 1968. He became involved in political activism while in college. He was one of the leaders of the Georgia Loyal National Democrats, an organization that challenged the seating of the Georgia delegation to the 1968 national Democratic Party convention on the grounds that it was not properly elected and blacks were underrepresented among its members. The organization succeeded in claiming half of the seats allotted to the Georgia delegation.

Branch pursued graduate study in international economics, with additional study in religion and philosophy, at Princeton University. To fulfill a policy-writing requirement of his master's degree program, Branch traveled to predominantly African American communities in rural Georgia to assist blacks in registering to vote during the summer of 1969 and documented his experiences. He developed his documentation into an article published by Washington Monthly, of which he became editor in 1971. He continued in that position until 1973 and remains affiliated with the publication as a contributing editor. He has also written for Harper's and Esquire magazines and has written or co-written several books in addition to his work on King and civil rights. These include a novel entitled The Empire Blues (1981). He advised President Bill Clinton on race-related issues, taught at Goucher College in Maryland, and frequently speaks at public events.

Branch resides with his family in the Baltimore area.

From the guide to the Taylor Branch Papers, (bulk, ), 1865-2013, 1958-2009, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Branch, Taylor. Taylor Branch papers, 1865-2009 (bulk 1958-2009). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
creatorOf Southern Elections Fund. Papers, 1965-1975 of the Fund and of the chairman of the Board of Trustees, Julian Bond [manuscript]. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Taylor Branch Papers, (bulk, ), 1865-2013, 1958-2009 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Montgomery (Ala.)
California
Southern States
Alabama
Selma (Ala.)
United States
Subject
Communists
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
African Americans--Social conditions
Historians
Civil rights
African Americans
African Americans--Civil rights
Journalists
desks
Freedom of information
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Occupation
Function

Person

Birth 1947-01-14

Americans

English

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