Taylor Branch is an American author and public speaker best known for his landmark trilogy on the civil rights era, America in the King Years. The trilogy’s first book, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, won the Pulitzer Prize and numerous other awards in 1989. Two successive volumes also gained critical and popular success: Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65, and At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. Decades later, all three books remain in demand.
Branch’s 2009 memoir, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President, chronicles an unprecedented eight-year project to gather a sitting president’s comprehensive oral history secretly on tape.
His cover story for the October 2011 issue of The Atlantic, “The Shame of College Sports,” touched off continuing national debate about NCAA rules that severely abridge the rights of college athletes. The article was expanded into a digital e-book, The Cartel (2011), and is the subject of a 2013 documentary film on the EPIX network, Schooled: The Price of College Sports.
Branch returned to civil rights history in his latest book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement (2013). He has taught classes at Goucher College, the University of Baltimore, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2019, he won an Emmy Award as Executive Producer for the 2018 HBO documentary King in the Wilderness, a Kunhardt Films production about the final three years of Dr. King’s life.
As of 2020, Taylor Branch marked several years into the writing stage for a new book on the power and pervasive distortion of race throughout American history.
Aside from writing, and teaching, Taylor Branch speaks before a wide variety of audiences. He began his career as a magazine journalist for The Washington Monthly in 1970, moving later to Harper’s and Esquire. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife, Christina Macy.