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William Blackwell Branch Edit Profile

playwright , Producer , professor

William Blackwell Branch, American playwright, producer, professor. John Guggenheim fellow, 1959-1960; recipient Hannah B. Del Vecchio award Columbia, 1958.


Branch, William Blackwell was born on September 11, 1927 in New Haven. Son of James Matthew and Iola (Douglas) Branch.


Bachelor of Science, Northwestern University, 1949;Master of Fine Arts, Columbia University, 1958;ABC fellow, Yale University, 1965-1966.


Professor Cornell University, 1985-1994. Visiting scholar, lecturer numerous universities. Visiting professor University Maryland, Baltimore County, 1979-1982.

University California Regents lecturer, spring, 1985. Visiting Luce fellow Williams College, fall, 1983. Visiting distinguished professor William Paterson College New Jersey, Wayne, 1994-1996.


  • book

  • Other Work

    • Actor appearing in: Anna Lucasta, 1945, Detective Story, 1951. Playwright for theatre, television and motion pictures, since 1951. Associate in film, Columbia School of Arts, 1968-1969.

      Staff writer-producer, Channel 13, Educational television, New York City, 1962-1964. Director The Jackie Robinson Show, NBC, 1958-1960. Co-author: The Jackie Robinson Column New York Post and syndication, 1959-1961.

      Screenwriter Universal Studios, 1968-1969, producer, NBC News, 1972-1973, president, William Branch Associates, since 1973. Works include (theatre) A Medal for Willie, 1951, In Splendid Error, 1954, A Wreath for Udomo, 1960, To Follow the Phoenix, 1960, Baccalaureate, 1975. (television) Light in the Southern Sky, 1958 (Robert E. Sherwood television award 1958), A Letter From Booker T., 1987.

      Television documentary Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class, 1968 (Emmy award nominee 1969, Blue Ribbon award American Film Festival 1969). Documentary television series Afro American Perspectives, 1974-1983. Screen Together for Days, 1971.

      Executive producer: Black Perspective on the News, Public Broadcasting System, 1978-1979. Author: Fifty Steps Toward Freedom, 1959. Author, editor: Black Thunder: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Drama, 1992 (American Book award 1992), Crosswinds: An Anthology of Black Dramatists in the Diaspora, 1993.


Board of directors American Society African Culture, 1963-1970. Treasurer National Conference African American Theatre, 1987-1991. Board directors National Citizens Committee for Broadcasting, 1969-1971.

Member of national advisory board Center for Book, Library of Congress, 1979-1983, W.E.B. DuBois Foundation, since 1987. Served with Army of the United States, 1951-1953.


Married Marie Louise Foster, August 19, 1956 (divorced). 1 daughter, Rochelle Ellen.

James Matthew Branch

Iola (Douglas) Branch

Marie Louise Foster