MacArthur Fellows Program

Taylor Branch

Social Historian | Class of 1991

Title
Social Historian
Location
Baltimore, Maryland
Age
44 at time of award
Area of Focus
American History
Social

Taylor Branch is an independent writer, whose work has focused primarily upon race relations and historical subjects in the United States.

The strength of Branch’s writing lies in his ability to synthesize vast amounts of material into a readable narrative.  Through oral histories and scholarly research, Branch vividly recreates the mood of the nation during the civil rights era.  His book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988), goes beyond politics to capture the human struggle and drama of this era, particularly the role of the black church in shaping the civil rights movement and its challenge to Southern racism and Federal indifference.

Branch’s other works include Second Wind: The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man (1979), The Empire Blues (1981), Labyrinth (1982), Pillar of Fire (1999), and At Canaan’s Edge (2005).

Branch received an A.B. (1968) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.P.A. (1970) from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

Last updated January 1, 2006

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