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Taylor Branch
Born (1947-01-14) January 14, 1947 (age 76)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
EducationUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (BA)
Princeton University (MPA)
Notable worksAmerica in the King Years
Notable awardsMacArthur Fellowship
National Humanities Medal
Pulitzer Prize for History
SpouseChristina Macy

Taylor Branch (born January 14, 1947) is an American author and historian who wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning trilogy chronicling the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and much of the history of the American civil rights movement. The final volume of the 2,912-page trilogy, collectively called America in the King Years, was released in January 2006, and an abridgment, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, was published in 2013.


Early life and education

Branch graduated from The Westminster Schools in Atlanta in 1964. From there, he went to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a Morehead Scholarship.[1] He graduated in 1968 and went on to earn an M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 1970.


Branch with President Bill Clinton in 1993

Branch served as an assistant editor at The Washington Monthly from 1970 to 1973; he was Washington editor of Harper's from 1973 to 1976; and he was Washington columnist for Esquire Magazine from 1976 to 1977. He also has written for a variety of other publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Sport, The New Republic, and Texas Monthly.

In 1972, Branch worked for the Texas campaign of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern. Branch shared an apartment in Austin with Bill Clinton, and the two developed a friendship that continues today. He also worked with Hillary Rodham, Bill's then-girlfriend and Yale Law School classmate, and later Clinton's wife.

External videos
video icon Discussion with Branch on his preparations for writing The Clinton Tapes, April 29, 2007, C-SPAN
video icon Washington Journal interview with Branch on The Clinton Tapes, September 30, 2009, C-SPAN
video icon After Words interview with Branch on The Clinton Tapes, October 17, 2009, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Branch on The Clinton Tapes, November 14, 2009, C-SPAN

Branch's book on former president Bill Clinton, The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With The President, was written from many tape-recorded interviews and conversations between the two, most of which occurred in the White House during Clinton's two terms in office and which were not disclosed publicly until 2009 at the time of the book's publication.

Branch was a lecturer in politics and history at Goucher College from 1998 to 2000.[citation needed]

Taylor Branch received a five-year MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (also known as a "genius grant") in 1991 and the National Humanities Medal in 1999. In 2008, he received the Dayton Literary Peace Prize's Lifetime Achievement Award,[2] presented to him by special guest Edwin C. Moses.[3]

In 2013, he co-produced Schooled: The Price of College Sports based on his 2011 book The Cartel.[4]

in 2015, he received the BIO Award from Biographers International Organization, for his contributions to the art and craft of biography.[5]

Israeli citizenship controversy

A group of Black Hebrew Israelites described as a cult in The New York Times were systematically denied Israeli citizenship over several decades. In 1981, a group of American civil rights activists led by Bayard Rustin investigated and concluded that racism was likely not the cause of the Black Hebrews' treatment.[6] In 1992, Branch opined that the Black Hebrew Israelites' denial of citizenship under the Israeli law of return was because of alleged anti-Black sentiment among Israeli Jews.[7] In 1998, Branch was criticized by Seth Forman, who said Branch's claims seemed to be baseless, particularly in light of Israel's airlift of thousands of black Ethiopian Jews in the early 1990s.[8]


Branch at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2014

Branch lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife, Christina Macy, and their two children, Macy (born 1980) and Franklin (born 1983).


External videos
video icon In Depth interview with Branch, February 5, 2006, C-SPAN
video icon Interview with Branch on Parting the Waters, January 16, 1989, C-SPAN
video icon Booknotes interview with Branch on Pillar of Fire, April 12, 1998, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Branch on At Canaan's Edge, September 30, 2006, C-SPAN
video icon Interview with Branch on America in the King Years, April 28, 2007, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Branch on The King Years, January 22, 2013, C-SPAN
video icon Presentation by Branch on The King Years, September 21, 2013, C-SPAN
Pulitzer Prize for History, 1989
National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction, 1988
English-Speaking Union Book Award, 1989
Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, 1989
(Finalist): National Book Award, Nonfiction, 1989
American Bar Association, Silver Gavel Award, 1999
Imus Book Award, 1999
The Hillman Prize, 1998[9]
Heartland Prize for nonfiction, Chicago Tribune, 2006.[10]


  1. ^ "BHS senior awarded Morehead-Cain scholarship". The Transylvania Times. Retrieved 2022-05-20.
  2. ^ "King biographer latest Literary Peace Prize honoree".
  3. ^ "Dayton Literary Peace Prize - Edwin C. Moses".
  4. ^ Schooled: The Price of College Sports at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ The BIO Award, Biographers International Organization Archived 2016-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Shipler, David K. (January 30, 1981). "Israelis Urged To Act Over Black Hebrew Cult". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  7. ^ Branch, Taylor "Blacks and Jews: The Uncivil War", in Bridges and Boundaries: African Americans and American Jews (Salzman, Ed), 1992
  8. ^ Forman, Seth, Blacks in the Jewish Mind: A Crisis of Liberalism, NYU Press, 1998, p. 14-15
  9. ^ "The Hillman Prize Previous Honorees". 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Taylor Branch and Louise Erdrich Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, 2006 (video)". Chicago Humanities Festival. 5 November 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  11. ^ "The Clinton Tapes, Wrestling History with the President". Retrieved December 14, 2012.
  12. ^ Klein, Joe (September 24, 2009). "Bill Session". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved August 26, 2022.