The Warmth Of Other Suns Book Review

Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth Of Other Suns recounts of people who journeyed from America’s south states during the Great Migration, and it is their collective stories that inform every aspect of the book.

Through the perspectives of different characters, this  book tries to capture the story of how colored/black/African-American depending on the time era, fled the Southern states in one of the greatest undocumented migrations yet.

We also get to somewhat understand the origin of Jim Crow, a perjorative term for black people, which gained notoriety the 1830s and was even applied to laws to segregate them. A story is told of a New-York white actor Thomas Dartmouth Rice who wore blackface and ragged clothes and impersonated a handicapped black stable hand yet ended up dying penniless in 1860 of a paralytic condition that limited his speech and movement.

This migration was circa World War 1 through World War 2 until the 1970s which saw rigorous civil rights movements. The migration saw hives of black people always in train stations, seeking better lives, anything other than cotton picking and cattle-rearing. They moved in drones to northern lands i.e Chicago, DC, New York

Isabel weaves her riveting storytelling through Ida Mae Brandon, George Swanson Starling and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, encompassing stories of the forgotten, aggrieved, wishful generations whose private ambition for something better made a way for those who followed.

Reading The Warmth Of Other Suns, I came to realize just how deeply rooted the concept of racism is, and the ugly truth that it might never be done with. It will always unfortunately be something to grapple with methinks.

Through her compelling straight-forward prose, wonderful storytelling, and diligent journalism, Wilkerson more than convinces me that the Great Migration is the greatest untold, misunderstood, and largely unknown occurrence of the American 20th century. I don’t say this often, but The Warmth of Other Suns is a must-read, particularly if you want to begin to understand the racial issues still confronting the US today.

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