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Author Topic: The Warmth of Other Suns  (Read 1051 times)

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Offline lindy

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The Warmth of Other Suns
« on: October 31, 2010, 05:12:59 PM »

I just want to briefly gush about a book I just finished reading?The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson. It?s about ?The Great Migration? of African Americans from the Deep South to anywhere else but the Deep South between 1905 and 1970.

Wilkerson interviewed 1,200 people for her book, and chose three as representative of the Migration. One made the bulk of his living picking citrus fruit in central Florida, and tried to organize his fellow pickers to get 25 cents a box instead of 10 cents. If he hadn?t jumped on a train and gone north to Harlem when he did, he would have been lynched. The second is a woman from the Mississippi cotton belt, who moved to Chicago with her husband and their two children in the mid-1930s. She gets the most attention of the three main characters. In her 80s she met a young Illinois State Senator named Obama at a community meeting. The third was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and because his two parents were educators, he made the effort to become a medical doctor and surgeon. He moved to Los Angeles, where he became very successful?enough to blow thousands of dollars on several occasions at Las Vegas casinos. He also became the personal physician of Ray Charles.

This is not a book about the blues, I think blues is mentioned once in the 500-plus pages. But it is very much about the places and conditions from which the blues emerged.

The author won a Pulitzer for Feature Writing when she worked for the Chicago Bureau of the New York Times. Her writing is simple and straightforward, she?s a natural storyteller. She jumps back and forth among the characters at different stages of their lives, and reviews historical and sociological research on The Great Migration in between.

I can?t say enough good things about this book, which was just published this summer. If you read it, you?ll come away with a new perspective on the lives of African Americans from the time they were brought to this continent against their wishes (as far back as the 17th century, in Dutch Manhattan), as well as a better understanding about where the blues came from.

Here?s a review:


Offline Rivers

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Re: The Warmth of Other Suns
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2010, 05:33:47 PM »
Coincidence, Cheryl gave me this book today. Thanks for the rec, I look forward to reading it.

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: The Warmth of Other Suns
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2010, 12:01:42 PM »
This sounds like a book I'll have to get. Thanks for the heads-up.

In 1991 Nicholas Lemann, then editor of Atlantic magazine, wrote what was to become a highly acclaimed book The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America (Alfred A, Knopf). Here in Britain it went through three printings the last of which (1995) was to accompany a BBC TV documentary series based on the work.

Offline lindy

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Re: The Warmth of Other Suns
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2012, 11:36:47 AM »

For those who read this book, the author has written a thoughtful essay about the Trayvon Martin case and changes in current racial perceptions in the US:


Offline Slack

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Re: The Warmth of Other Suns
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 12:03:51 PM »
Thanks Lindy, thoughtful article and the attitudes are similarly reflected here on the border in high schools where blacks of Ft Bliss soldiers must face 90%+ hispanics.

I did read this book on your recommendation.  Heavy book.


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