Written on: March 30, 2023
Submitted by Sister Eileen White, GNSH
The Warmth of Other Suns is Isabel Wilkerson’s masterly telling of the untold story of America’s Great Migration. Over six million Southern African Americans, former slaves and descendants of slaves, migrated north and west between 1917 and 1970 in their quest for a full life, a life free of the humiliation and violence of the Jim Crow South. Wilkerson skillfully molds ten years of research and more than 1500 interviews all into the amazing story of three individuals, a woman sharecropper from Mississippi, a Florida orange grove worker, and a physician who could not practice medicine in his hometown in Louisiana. Wilkerson allows us to journey with them, experiencing the hardships and obstacles they often faced as they traded one brand of discrimination for another. She blends into their stories the census data, archives, and historical documents that provide the global picture and impact of the Great Migration.
Until this book found its way into my life, I had no idea what America’s Great Migration was. I recommend reading or listening to this incredibly powerful book by Wilkerson to all of you who, like me, are struggling to become a converted, well-informed anti-racist ally. We need so desperately to learn the whole history – the magnificent as well as the shameful history of our nation. The Warmth of Other Suns introduces us to the essential background of the diverse and beautiful humanity whose migration helped to change America into the nation we are today.
Published by Random House, 2010