Taylor Branch, renowned historian on Martin Luther King Jr. will be speaking at UVU on Monday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in LI 120. Photo courtesy of the History department

Since its beginning in 2003, the Turning Points in History lecture series was designed to attract various scholars to speak at the university concerning different turning points in the history of the United States.

It also gives residents of Orem the opportunity to engage and learn from some of the brightest academic minds in the nation.

Author Taylor Branch will speak on Monday, Feb. 28, as part of the series. He will give a speech entitled “40 Years After Martin Luther King: Looking Ahead With Obama.”

Branch is a Pulitzer Prize award winner best known for his trilogy Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-1963, which centers around the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. He is regarded as one of the most prominent scholars on the civil rights era.

History professor Dr. William Cobb Jr., who played a large role in bringing Branch to campus, admitted that he is a great admirer of Branch’s works and that having him come to the university is a “personal dream of mine.”

Dr. Cobb, referring to Branch’s experience studying the late 1950s and 1960s, stated that he believes Branch to be “the authority for that whole period.”

The lecture is intended not just for history majors, but for other students and the general public as well.

“The civil rights movement … and the role King played, not only in trying to achieve racial justice, but in trying to make the United States a more moral and just society is something that reaches way beyond history majors,” Cobb said. “It really appeals to the issue of what it means to be an American.”

The lecture will be from 7-9 p.m. in the Library Auditorium (LI 120).

A student workshop will be held on March 1 at 9 a.m., offering a chance for students to speak with Branch on a more intimate scale, and is available through invitation only. Interested parties should contact Dr. Cobb in the history department for more information on remaining seats.