Taylor Branch to Speak on Martin Luther King Jr. in Tacoma

March 9, 2010

TACOMA, Wash. – Taylor Branch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, best known for books on Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Bill Clinton, will give the spring Swope lecture at University of Puget Sound on Monday, April 5. The lecture, titled “The Myth and the Miracle: Reflections from the King Years,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Ticket information is below.

Branch is the pre-eminent historian of King, whose life he documented in an award-winning trilogy of books published over nearly three decades. The America in the King Years series, including   Parting the Waters, Pillar of Fire, and At Canaan’s Edge, chronicled the political events of 1954–1968 and told the stories of the farmers, teachers, sharecroppers, and others who took part in the high-risk drama of trying to turn around three centuries of African American persecution.

More recently Branch wrote The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History With the President, based on interviews and conversations with Clinton, largely during his two terms in office. Branch knew Clinton from the 1970s, when both were involved in running the Texas campaign of Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern.

Branch was formerly a writer or editor for publications including The Washington Monthly, Harper’s, Esquire Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, and The New Republic. During his career Branch has received multiple awards. These included a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for History, and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

The lecture at Puget Sound is sponsored by the Swope Endowed Lectureship on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values; the office of Spirituality, Service and Social Justice; and the Dean of Students Office. The Swope lectureship was established at Puget Sound through a gift from Major Ianthe Swope in honor of her mother, Jane Hammer Swope. It is intended to promote discussion, critical thinking, and ethical inquiry about matters of religion, including its role in public life and contemporary ethics.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for Puget Sound faculty, students, and staff. Tickets are available by contacting Wheelock Information Center, or by calling 253.879.3419 for credit card orders. Seating is limited and advance purchase is recommended.

For directions and a map of the campus: www.pugetsound.edu/directions.xml

Press-quality photos of Taylor Branch are available upon request.