Isabel Wilkerson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and best-selling author, spent 15 years and interviewed more than 1,200 people for The Warmth of Other Suns, a work of narrative nonfiction that tells the epic story of three people who made the decision of their lives in what came to be known as the Great Migration. The Warmth of Other Suns became a New York Times and national best seller. It won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, as well as many other awards.
The Great Migration, the focus of her book, was one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century. It lasted from 1915 to 1970, involved six million people and was one of the largest internal migrations in U.S. history. It changed the country, North and South. It brought us John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, Bill Russell, Motown, Denzel Washington, Michelle Obama -- all children or grandchildren of the Great Migration. It changed the cultural and political landscape of the United States, exerting pressure on the South to change and paving the way toward equal rights for the lowest caste people in the country. During the Great Migration, Wilkerson’s own parents journeyed from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she was born and reared.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting in the history of American journalism. Wilkerson also won a George Polk Award, a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her research into the Great Migration, and she was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University.
The University of Michigan-Flint in partnership with the Center for Civil Justice is proud to welcome some of the members of the greater Flint area who were part of the Great Migration during the 20th century. We look forward to celebrating their experiences as part of the heritage of this community.
Sponsored by the UM-Flint Africana Studies Department, History Department, and Anthropology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice Department
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Harding Mott University Center Michigan Rooms
Booksigning immediately follows
The Barnes and Noble University Bookstore will have copies of Ms. Wilkerson’s books for sale before and after the event.