Art Works Podcast: Taylor Branch
In this week's podcast, we mark the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by looking at his extraordinary legacy through the work of author Taylor Branch. Branch is best-known for his landmark trilogy on the Civil Rights era, America in the King Years, which won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. The 24-year project began with Parting the Waters in 1988, followed by Pillar of Fire ten years later, and closed with At Canaan's Gate in 2007. Taken together, the three volumes amount to much more than a mere biography of the short life of Dr. King. Branch gives us a social and political history of the Civil Rights Movement, the conditions that created it, and the epic struggle that was waged as the country was forced to rethink its concept of democracy. In America in the King Years, Branch persuasively demonstrates that the Civil Rights Movement was the defining political moment in 20th-century U.S. history, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at its center.