Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Isabel Wilkerson  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Non-Fiction

Born: in Washington, District of Columbia

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Isabel worked in Chicago for several years as the Chicago Bureau Chief for the New York Times Newspaper.

Biographical and Professional Information

Isabel is a Journalist, writer, and educator. In 1994, Isabel Wilkerson became the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of American journalism. Also, she was the first African American to win the prize for individual reporting.To contact Isabel please write to:Isabel Wilkerson, 2221 Peachtree Road, Box D-225, Atlanta, GA 30309


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
ISBN: 0679444327

Random House. 2010

One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year

In this epic, beautifully written masterwork, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades-long migration of black citizens who fled the South for northern and western cities, in search of a better life. From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.


With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat

sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God

and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.

Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land. Through the breadth of its narrative, the beauty of the writing, the depth of its research, and the fullness of the people and lives portrayed herein, this book is destined to become a classic.