The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson
Epic is right! As you can tell by the past posts of my blog, I’m not a huge reader of books about history. I’m not sure why, but I’d much rather get lost in a work of fiction, or in someone’s personal story than to read a book about historical events. However, I’ve been fortunate that when I do go out on a limb and climb out of my reading comfort zone, I’m always pleasantly surprised.
I received an advanced copy of this book back in early summer, but because it was so thick, I decided not to read it just then but save it for the cooler months. When it was finally published, the reviews were so incredible that I went ahead and picked it up. If you know anything about American history and slavery in this country then you are already familiar with the migration that African-Amercians made as they left the confines of their lives in the South for hopefully brighter pastures in the North. What you probably don’t know is this movement started in the right after slavery ended and well into the 1970’s.
Wilkerson centers her book on the stories of three individuals of varying degrees of education and economic status, who hailed from three different states and migrated to three different areas of the country in three different time periods, for three different reasons. So while you are learning about an important part of American history, you are really reading the biographies of three people, making the story relatable and interesting.
I’m definitely glad I picked this up and I learned so much while reading. On a side note, I was at work a couple weeks ago in the office talking with a co-worker. Then over the radio a cashier asks if we have any more copies of The Warmth of Other Suns in the store because the author was here to sign them. I hopped out of my chair in mid-sentence and ran out to the sales floor. Luckily, I was in the middle of reading it and had my copy with me so Ms. Wilkerson could sign. Doret & I were so excited to meet her (authors are like rockstars to us)! We also had good news for her because Debbie Allen had been in earlier in the week and bought 30 copies of the book and was trying to get in touch with her.