As part of Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s “Talking About Race” series, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch will discuss his upcoming new book, The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, and the importance of making history accessible for today’s youth at the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Tuesday, January 29 at 7 p.m.
He will be joined by educators Traci L. Wright, upper school dean of students at The Park School of Baltimore, and Karen Webber-Ndour, executive director of student support services for Baltimore City Public Schools.
Taylor Branch is the bestselling author of the award-winning trilogy profiling Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement. His books include Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63; Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963-65; At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968; and The Clinton Tapes. Along with the Pulitzer Prize, he has won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
But as much as his chronicling of the 1960s endures as a masterpiece of storytelling on American race, violence and democracy, educators and others note that many young people still have little understanding of the importance of that time period in our nation’s history.
“For nearly 25 years,” Branch says, “since publication of Parting the Waters, teachers have pressed upon me their need for more accessible ways to immerse students in stories of authentic detail and import. The goal here is to accommodate them and others by careful choice.”
In his new book, Branch has selected 18 essential moments from the civil rights movement as presented in his America in the King Years trilogy, and has written new introductions to set each passage in historical context.
Branch will discuss this new work, sharing fresh insights and enduring lessons from that pivotal period in American history. The Ivy Bookshop will have copies of the book on sale at the lecture.
OSI-Baltimore’s longstanding “Talking About Race” series has sparked a citywide dialogue about race and bias. Speakers have addressed the topic from different perspectives and explored why it is important to discuss such issues openly and intelligently.
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