The Columns

Author Taylor Branch to Speak about “Scalawags and Big Government” at W&L on Nov. 3

— by on October 12th, 2015

American author and public speaker Taylor Branch will give a talk at Washington and Lee University on Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. in Lee Chapel.

Branch will speak about “Scalawags and Big Government: How Racial History Warps Politics.” It is free and open to the public, and will be broadcast live online. A book signing will follow the talk in the lobby of Lee Chapel at 6:15 p.m. Branch’s talk is sponsored by the William Lyne Wilson II Symposium Fund and the Mellon Grant on History in the Public Sphere.

He is best known for his landmark narrative trilogy, “America in the King Years.” The first book, “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63” (1988) won the Pulitzer Prize and other awards in 1989. The other two books in the trilogy also garnered awards and much critical success: “Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–65” (1998) and “At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–68” (2006).

Branch is the author of 11 books including the above three. His latest three are “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement” (2013); “The Cartel: Inside the Rise and Imminent Fall of the NCAA” (e-book, 2011); and “The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President” (2009).

Branch speaks before a variety of audiences including schools, churches, political and professional groups. His 2008 address at the National Cathedral marked the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last Sunday sermon from that pulpit.

He has been awarded the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Lifetime Achievement; Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, Lifetime Achievement; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship; and the John S. Guggenheim Fellowship.

He received his A.B. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University. He lectured in politics and history at Goucher College from 1998–2000.