Parting The Waters: America in The King Years, 1954-1963
Wednesday, March 15 | 3:00pm | Auditorium
Taylor Branch Author
In Parting the Waters, Branch chronicles the struggle, from the twilight of the Eisenhower years through King’s fiery political baptism, the ascension of John F. Kennedy, and ultimately, the dawning of the New South. Moving from the black churches where the movement began in anthems, sermons, and prayers to Washington, where the Kennedy brothers weighed the demands of a down-trodden people against the volatile realities of politics, Branch weaves a tapestry of exciting stories: the Montgomery bus boycott, the Freedom Rides, the siege of Birmingham, the lunch-counter sit-ins, the church bombings, and as the movement reached its apex, the tragedy of Kennedy’s assassination.
About the Speaker
Aside from writing, Taylor Branch speaks before a variety of audiences, colleges, high schools, churches, synagogues, mosques, political and professional groups. He has discussed doctrines of nonviolence with prisoners at San Quentin as well as officers at the National War College. He has presented seminars on civil rights at Oxford University and in sixth-grade classrooms. His 2008 address at the National Cathedral marked the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s last Sunday sermon from that pulpit. In 2009, he gave the Theodore H. White Lecture on the Press and Politics at Harvard.
His musical sidelights have spanned the Atlanta Boy Choir in the 1950s, a high-school folk trio, and a contemporary octet for spirituals. In 2006, he and two friends reconstituted their 1960s college band as the cover group Off Our Rocker, which has recorded and released two CDs in playful tribute to the Beatles.
Branch began his career in 1970 as a staff journalist for The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, and Esquire. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from ten colleges and universities. Other citations include the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 and the National Humanities Medal in 1999.
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