The Warmth of Other Suns

warmth of other suns cover imageWarmth of Other Suns

by Isabel Wilkerson
Vintage; Reprint edition
Paperback - 640 pages

At the outset of the Great War in Europe in the mid-teens of the last century a remarkable migration (“exodus” if you will) was taking place under the radar in the United States.  Since 1915 and up through the 1970’s some 6 million African Americans had abandoned the South and made their way to the North.  Wilkerson likens these black migrants to the hoard of Europeans who came ashore on the east coast in the decades before.  Like them the goal was a better future for themselves and their families.  Though derided as the dregs of society they, like most of the Europeans, typically had more stable families, better education and more skills than the people they left behind.  Though massive at 622 pages, this book is immensely readable as it follows the journeys of three Southern blacks to three different Northern destinations in three different decades of the migration.  The title pays homage to Richard Wright who left Mississippi in the 1920’s in search of other suns.