Wilkerson on PBS' The Tavis Smiley Show
Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her reporting as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. The award made her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting.
Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
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Hardcover: 640 pages
Publisher: Random House (September 7, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.6 inches
One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year
In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning
author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of
American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the
South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915
to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of
America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other
peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained
access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and
vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering
our cities, our country, and ourselves.
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.