Isabel Wilkerson

isabel-wilkerson-200Isabel Wilkerson devoted 15 years to the research and writing of The Warmth of Other Suns. She interviewed more than 1,200 people, unearthed archival works and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the epic story of the Great Migration, one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century and one of the largest migrations in American history.

Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African-American to win for individual reporting. She has appeared on national programs such as CBS' "60 Minutes," NPR's "Fresh Air" and PBS' "NewsHour" and "Charlie Rose Show." She had taught at Princeton University, Emory University and Boston University and has spoken at more than 100 universities in the United States and in Europe.

Emmett Till and Tamir Rice, Sons of the Great Migration

In winter 1916, several hundred black families from the Selma, Ala., Cotton Belt began quietly defecting from the Jim Crow South, with its night rides and hanging trees, some confiding to The Chicago Defender in February that the “treatment doesn’t warrant staying.” It was the start of the Great Migration, a leaderless revolution that would incite six million black refugees over six decades to seek asylum within the borders of their own country. They could not know what was in store for them … [Read more...]

Our Racial Moment of Truth

For as long as many Americans have been alive, the Confederate flag stood watch at the South Carolina capitol, and Atticus Finch, moral guardian-father-redeemer, was arguably the most beloved hero in American literature. The two symbols took their places in our culture within months of each other. The flag was hoisted above the capitol dome in April 1961, on the centennial of the Civil War during upheavals over civil rights. Atticus Finch debuted in July 1960 in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a … [Read more...]

When Will the North Face Its Racism?

View image | gettyimages.com he groundswell of protests over police brutality in the closing days of 2014, when people dropped to the marble floor of Grand Central Terminal and shut down the Brooklyn Bridge, blocked Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and chanted “I Can’t Breathe” from Boston to Oakland, summoned ghosts not only of the marches of the civil rights era but of the larger forces that led to the arrival of so many African-Americans in the big cities of the North and West in the first … [Read more...]