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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

Book - 2010
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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.
Publisher: New York : Random House, [2010]
Copyright Date: ©2010
ISBN: 9780679444329
Branch Call Number: 304.80973 WILKE
Characteristics: x, 622 pages ; 25 cm.


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ArapahoeJennieB May 04, 2021

A thoroughly researched and engaging history of the great migration of Black Americans from the south to the north in the first half of the twentieth century. This history is told from the perspectives of three different people from different areas of the south whose stories exemplify the experiences of many Black Americans who made similar journeys. Wilkerson expertly weaves their stories into the the larger story of American history and engages the reader in the lives of each of these people, and by the end of the book you feel like you've really gotten to know these people and are sad to let them go.

pacl_teens Apr 12, 2021

"When the Black Lives Matter movement began last year, my parents encouraged me to learn more about African American history. "The Warmth of Other Suns" thus made it onto my reading list, as one of the best books on the subject. It details The Great Migration, a time period during which over six million African Americans moved to the North and West of the United States, to escape the dangerously rigid caste system and Jim Crow Laws of the South.

This book is the result of fifteen years of research and interviews from more than a thousand people, conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson (whose own parents partook in the migration so that they and the family they grew could have a better life). I greatly admire this book for letting me learn so much while still being invested in the content of the text beyond dry facts. Wilkerson skillfully tells history by following the lives of three individuals who took the journey, and manages to display all of what they left behind, and what they found in their search for more. I was particularly intrigued by the story of Doctor Robert Foster, a success-driven black surgeon who moved to California after the South prevented his race from exercising the level of medical expertise he could be satisfied with.

This book served my purpose to understand more, while still supplying me with an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in personal takes by those most affected by racism in the United States at the time, as well as those looking for a larger picture of how the seeds of racism grew to be so deeply rooted, from history to present date." - Chloe, Grade 10

Oct 26, 2020

Read for bookgroup

Aug 30, 2020

This is a haunting history of 6 million African-Americans fleeing the Jim Crow era South to Northern cities. The author has interviewed thousands of people and has done extensive research on this less known Mass Migration within our own borders. The author has a great gift of writing the details for us the readers. Some details of lynching are unnerving and left me with no sympathies for the people of Southern States. Even to this day they fly the confederate flags! The book is very long, 538 pages plus Notes, Index etc add up to 622 pages.
Last few chapters of 1990 decade were less interesting compared to earlier decades.

Only other comment I have is that even though this is a history book, it has not historical photos of any major characters or events.

Aug 26, 2020

Modern Mrs Darcy

Aug 22, 2020

622 pages

CRRL_JoyO Aug 04, 2020

A fascinating look at the migration of African Americans from the south to other parts of the country. The author uses the stories of three people who migrated to Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City to draw the reader in and portray the real facts behind the Great Migration in the 20th century.

Jul 27, 2020

Rec from Elise of ATX SciWriters

Jul 21, 2020

This is the first book I have read about the "Great Migration". The amount of effort that went in to the writing of this book is unimaginable. Wilkerson took facts of a century and wove them into a story about 3 people (Ida Mae, Robert Pershing, George Starling) who migrated at different times, circumstances and to different cities. Another book to be required reading in HS. Essential info that many people will not be familiar with, have been exposed or perhaps forgotten. It seems info can be lost in 1 generation! I hope discrimination/greed /hoarding has not become so ingrained into our society that we can't learn to share resources in the future. Keep hope alive! A wonderful informative book!

Jun 21, 2020

There are several outstanding books about the lives of black Americans in the first part of the 20th century, but few have the scope and lyrical passion of Isabel Wilkerson’s “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.” A former New York Times journalist, Wilkerson masterfully recounts the exodus of millions from the Deep South in search of a better life, an epochal shift that established today’s complex interplay of race, class and justice. - NYT

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