2014 The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
by Isabel Wilkerson

A note from Galveston Reads Chair Gavin Sheaffer:

The Warmth of Other SunsOne of the greatest untold stories in American history is coming to Galveston. “The Warmth of Other Suns: the Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson has been selected as the Galveston Reads book for 2014.

Through readings, film, performances, art and more, Galveston residents will be afforded the opportunity to explore 55 years of the migration of millions of African-Americans who fled the south for increased opportunity in other areas of the country.

Extensively researched with a compelling and readable narrative, this book has been lauded by The New York Times Magazine as one of the best nonfiction books of all time.

2014 Display case“The Warmth of Other Suns” tells the story of the Great Migration, the exodus of 6 million black Southerners out of the Jim Crow-era south to the northeast, Midwest and California during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.

While the author interviewed more than 1,200 people in order to create this work, in the book she describes three — Ida Mae Gladney, George Stirling and Robert Foster — in great detail.

By focusing on these three specific individuals, Wilkerson documents the conditions during the Great Depression and pre- and postwar America with a novelistic flair.

Ida Mae leaves Mississippi for Chicago, escaping depression-era poverty and hardship. George Stirling flees Florida a few steps ahead of a lynch mob because of labor organizing activity and ends up in Harlem.

Robert Foster leaves Louisiana in favor of California in order to practice medicine free from racial practices prevalent in the south at the time.

Wilkerson documents the loss of community and the familiar that all three subjects experience, but she also reveals the opportunities and accomplishments that they are able to achieve in other parts of America.

Galveston residents will find an engaging read in this award-winning book. The book’s honors include receipt of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Lynton History Prize, the Heartland Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize.

“The Warmth of Other Suns” was shortlisted for both the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and additionally, was named to more than 30 Best of the Year Lists.

-- Gavin

Galveston Reads is a voluntary organization composed of community representatives. It’s modeled after ‘One City, One Book’ projects around the country that are designed to promote the reading of the same book at the same time by their residents of high school age through senior citizens. The committee endeavors to choose a book of interest to this community and to use accompanying events to bring together the Galveston citizens by encouraging reading and thoughtful discussions.

Questions, please call the Rosenberg Library 409-763-8854 ext. 140.

Page last updated: 04/02/2014