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Tag Archives: 2011

Author Isabel Wilkerson On Past And Present: “Our Current Divisions Are Neither New Nor Surprising”

Journalist Isabel Wilkerson keeps her readers connected to history.   During the summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Wilkerson gave context to swimmer Simone Manuel's historic gold medal by bringing forward the long history of blacks being barred from public pools and beaches -- and she did it in a mere 300 words. Likewise, when Clevelanders rejoiced over their first NBA championship, Wilkerson pointed out the triumph rested on LeBron James being a child of the Great Migration. She regularly uses her Facebook page to profile politicians, activists and entertainers whose ascension in popular culture lies in the Great Migration  -- the mass exodus of six million African-Americans between 1910-1970 from the rural South to all corners of the United States.   Isabel... Read More →

Author Isabel Wilkerson Brings Cleveland Connection To “The Warmth Of Other Suns”

Additional reporting by Tara Jefferson When Isabel Wilkerson comes to Cleveland, she sees Alabama. An authority on the Great Migration—the departure of six million African-Americans from a South lynching them at a rate of one every four days over six decades of the 20th-century—Wilkerson is steeped in the ways of movement. She can pinpoint the families that “left along three beautifully predictable streams: up the East coast, into the Midwest and Far West.” She is conversant in the food, folkways and the names of churches that traveled with them.   “I am thrilled to be back in Ohio, one of the receiving stations of the Great Migration, one of the places people dreamt about when dreaming about living their lives in freedom,” she said to a gathering celebrating the tenth... Read More →

ESSENCE Magazine Goes Dark For Historic “Black Lives Matter” Issue

For the first time in its 45-year history, Essence magazine will not use a cover model.  Instead, the African-American publication has dedicated its February 2015 issue to "Black Lives Matter," the social justice movement that has ignited in the wake of the killing of unarmed black people by law enforcement.   "Pictures are powerful, but so are words," editor-in-chief Vanessa DeLuca writes in her Letter from the Editor. "After I spoke with the editorial team — with all our souls aching for answers — we knew immediately what we had to do: Tell the story of this tipping point in our history in America. So this February we are focusing our attention on the daring modern-day civil rights movement we are all bearing witness to and making a bold move of our own: a cover... Read More →

“Warmth Of Other Suns” Named The 2013 Selection For Chicago’s City-Wide Book Club

With so much negative news spilling out of Chicago each day, we're happy to see at least one bright spot among the tragedies. Isabel WIlkerson's 2010 work "The Warmth of Other Suns" was named the next selection of the Chicago Public Library's "One Book, One  Chicago" program, announced by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday.  Of the selection Emanuel said:  “Isabel Wilkerson’s book brings to life the stories of African Americans who left their homes in the South in search of a better life. These are the stories of people who helped create the Chicago we know today – and of people continuing to come to our city each day in hopes of finding their dream. Each of us has a story to tell about our family’s path to Chicago and how we all helped to make Chicago the most... Read More →

We Can’t Get Enough Of Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale HurstonAs we wrote before, Isabel Wilkerson has been educating her fans on the impact of the Great Migration by posting stories of prominent African Americans to her Facebook page. Recently, she profiled Zora Neale Hurston, one of our favorite writers and one of the literary world's greatest treasures.  We loved what she had to say about Hurston so much that we decided to share it with you here: On this day, January 7, in 1891 or 1901, beloved author Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Ala., to Rev. John and Lucy Hurston. She grew up in the all-black town of Eatonville, Fla., and went north as a young woman, just as the Great Migration was starting during World War I. She attended what is now Morgan State University and then Howard University, where she got her first story published in... Read More →

WE REMEMBER: August Wilson’s Play, “The Piano Lesson,” Debuted 25 Years Ago This Month

A photo from the 1987 premiere of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson."                     In our rush to get to Thanksgiving dinner, we missed the anniversary of August Wilson's "The Piano Lesson." 2011 winner Isabel Wilkerson reminded us through a post on her Facebook page (she's just FULL of wonderful factoids about African American history), including a rare photo of Samuel L. Jackson (third from left), who starred in the play as Boy Willie.  Wilkerson writes:  It was 25 years ago today, Nov. 23, 1987, that the August Wilson play, The Piano Lesson, made its world premiere, starring Samuel L. Jackson (3rd from left) as Boy Willie, at the Yale Repertory Theatre. The play would win the Pulitzer Prize. In its scenes play out... Read More →

Isabel Wilkerson Greeted By Surprise From Fan In Her Hotel Room

                      Isabel Wilkerson posted the above photo and the following message on her Facebook page - seems she has a superfan out there!  Deepest gratitude at this special time to every person who has embraced this book and the inspiring message of the Great Migration. Filled with joy for whoever created what is shown in this picture: an edible edition of The Warmth of Other Suns created with love and care by an anonymous fan. This greeted me in my room at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco, where I was to speak in the City Arts and Lectures series. Neither the event organizers nor the hotel said they knew how it got there or who had gone to such trouble to create or commission it. However it got there, this... Read More →

VIDEO: “The Great Migration Is The Story Of Most African-Americans” – Isabel Wilkerson

A full two years after her acclaimed book, The Warmth of Other Suns, was published, Isabel Wilkerson continues to work hard on the promotion trail, working to raise awareness of the Great Migration and its impact on today's culture. "They changed American culture as we know it," Wilkerson says in this short interview during the 2012 Leimert Park Book Fesitval. "So much of what we think of as American culture is actually the culture of the people who did this (migrated). We're talking about Toni Morrison, who became a Nobel Laureate; we're talking about people like August Wilson, the playwright; Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote The Raisin in the Sun...we're also talking about music. Motown wouldn't have existed at all. Rock 'n' roll, as we know it, would not have existed." Watch the short... Read More →

VIDEO: Will We See A Big-Screen Adaptation of “The Warmth Of Other Suns”?

Interview with Isabel Wilkerson from Mayborn School of Journalism on Vimeo. To say there has been immense interest in Isabel Wilkerson's "Warmth of Other Suns" would be an understatement. She recently gave the ending keynote at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference last month, where she noted that she has been on the road promoting the book extensively since it was first released in September 2010. During the wrap-up interview, Wilkerson was asked if we might see her book on the big screen, similar to "The Help." Check out the video above for the answer as well as more on Wilkerson's process, her writing career and more.    Read More →

VIDEO: Isabel Wilkerson On The Great Migration

During a stop to the Tavis Smiley show on PBS, Isabel Wilkerson described her desire to capture stories of the Great Migration. It was a labor of love—more than a decade of researching, interviewing, writing, and rewriting to accurately capture the stories of African Americans who left the south for more opportunities and a better life in the North.  As Tavis Smiley says, "Everybody's talking about this now. But only because you had the discipline and courage and conviction and commitment to tell this story – a story that is at the very epicenter of what America is." Check out the video and let us know - have you read the book? What were your thoughts?  Read More →
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