The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
I remember reading about Emmett Till in Jet magazine when I was a child. The images of his bloated and disfigured face were branded in my mind. How could someone do such a thing to a fourteen year-old boy? His story was one of my first lessons about the Jim Crow South.
In her masterfully written historic account of one of the greatest (and unrecognized) migrations in our history, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Pulitzer Prize-Winner Isabel Wilkerson, describes in great detail how approximately six million people left the southern states and migrated North and West. From World War I to 1970 African-Americans fled a social caste system that did not recognize them as human. They fled in droves to escape the Jim Crow south that included lynching, daily subjection to unfair and inhuman treatment and to avoid the same fate that befell Emmett Till.
In this book, that reads more like a novel, Wilkerson carefully chronicles the lives of three people Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Forster, who left their southern homes and headed to different parts of the country in hope of better lives.
Like the other millions of African-Americans that left, they did not know that their desire to live free, would ultimately change the landscape of the United States.
Wilkerson’s rich and heartfelt lyrical style, packed with raw emotion and suspense, brings us as close as we could, to how her subjects felt during their transitions and adjustments in their new homes.
This book tells a piece of our history that provides insight about how we have access to certain rights and freedoms and why we can live as we do today. As a product of the migration I am filled with gratitude for those who made that journey.
Shine Your Light!