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Civil Rights Historian Taylor Branch to Give MLK Day Address

1/7/2009 --

Author presents "Myth and Miracles from the King Years" at Ross Jan. 19.

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Taylor Branch, who devoted more than two decades chronicling the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., will deliver the Ross School of Business MLK Day lecture at 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2009, at the school's new Blau Auditorium.

Branch’s talk, "Myth and Miracles from the King Years," is free to the public and will be followed by a book-signing. No tickets are required.

"We are extremely honored that Taylor Branch will not only be our featured MLK Day keynote speaker this year, but also will give the inaugural address of any kind in the Ross School's new Blau Auditorium," says Ross School Dean Robert Dolan. "Mr. Branch spent 24 years and wrote thousands of pages about Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. His insight and expression of the impact of King's legacy has earned him the Pulitzer Prize."

Branch won the Pulitzer in 1988 for his book Parting the Waters, the first volume of the epic trilogy America in the King Years. He completed Pillar of Fire in 1998 and At Canaan's Edge in 2006. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for History, he has won several other literary awards for this seminal work.

America in the King Years is widely considered the definitive history of the modern civil rights era, tracing the tumultuous years between 1954 and 1968. However, Branch's work is no mere biography of King, but rather "a picture of the country and the times as he intersected with them," according to a review in The New York Times.

Branch's forthcoming book, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2009. His previous books include Labyrinth, The Empire Blues, Second Wind, Blind Ambition, and Blowing the Whistle: Dissent in the Public Interest.

As a journalist, Branch has worked for such publications as Esquire, Harper’s and Washington Monthly. His writing also has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Sport, The New Republic, and Texas Monthly.

Branch was born in Atlanta in 1947. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from the University of North Carolina and went on to receive a master's degree in public administration from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He received a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1991 and the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton in 1999. From 1998 to 2000, Branch served as a lecturer in politics and history at Goucher College.



For more information, contact:
Bernie DeGroat, (734) 936-1015 or 647-1847, bernied@umich.edu