Isabel Wilkerson’s 2010 masterpiece The Warmth of Other Suns focuses on the Great Migration, scores of Southern African Americans who packed up and left everything they knew behind for a brighter future in the North. With painstaking detail, Wilkerson recounts the lives of four African Americans and their dreams awaiting them in a new place. It was a difficult journey for most, with countless hardships along the way. One of the subjects profiled, Robert Foster, made his way to medical school, becoming a surgeon and later opening his own private practice.
His daughter, Bunny Foster, sat down with Isabel Wilkerson in the research stage of the book to share her memories of her father. In a recent interview, she talked about how the man she remembered is different (in a good way) from the man Isabel portrayed:
“My father could be difficult. He was a perfectionist,” Bunny explains. “But Isabel got to what I wasn’t really privy to, in spite of being a brilliant surgeon and physician—he was terribly insecure. I remember case after case where he did some incredible surgery on someone who was expected to die and that person lived. The book taught me things I didn’t know about my own life,” Bunny says. “When I go back and think about the struggles my father had, it saddens me. He made so many hard choices and I had no clue.”
She credits Wilkerson’s thorough investigative skills with uncovering a well-rounded image of her father, one that she will cherish forever. Read the full article here.
Have you read The Warmth of Other Suns? What did you think about Robert Foster’s storyline?