Learning the pivotal moments in America’s civil rights struggle with Taylor Branch

Historians in the News
tags: civil rights movement

Valerie Strauss is an education blogger for the Washington Post.

...[Taylor] Branch is best known for his trilogy of books on Martin Luther King’s life and the civil rights movement, which are meticulously researched and extremely long. (The paperback version of the first book, “Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-1963, is 1,088 pages.) In a recent interview, Branch said that he had never anticipated writing a book for schools, but in his travels, teachers would repeatedly ask him for help in understanding and teaching the subject.

“I believe storytelling and things that are personal are the best point of entry for anybody, but it does make for a long and sprawling text,” he said. “And people ask me, ‘Do I regret doing all of that? And should I have written this short little book from the beginning?’ ”

Of course not, he said. Indeed, without the intimate knowledge he learned of the period during his many years of research, he couldn’t have adequately assembled a 190-page (in paperback) book that highlights the key moments of the King years, drawn from his trilogy. (The other two books in the trilogy are “Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65″ and “At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68.”)...

Read entire article at Washington Post

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