The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson
(Random House, Hardcover, 9780679444329, 640pp.)

Publication Date: September 7, 2010

List Price: $30.00*
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Description

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.




About the Author
Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. The first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African American to win for individual reporting, she has also won the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University. During the Great Migration, her parents journeyed from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she was born and reared.


NPR
Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010

Host Michel Martin continues her conversation with Isabel Wilkerson, author of â??The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story America's Great Migration.â?? Wilkersonâ??s book explores the courageous journeys of African-Americans from the Jim Crow south to the north, west, and other areas of America. Last time, Wilkerson explained why African-Americans left, and how difficult it was to do so. Now, she explains what happened once African-Americans reached their respective destinations. More at NPR.org

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NPR
Monday, Sep 13, 2010

More than 6 million African-Americans moved from the South to cities in the Northeast and Midwest between 1915 and 1970. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson documents the resulting demographic and social changes in her history of the Great Migration, The Warmth of Other Suns. More at NPR.org

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