Isabel Wilkerson | Courtesy of U of L
Isabel Wilkerson | Courtesy of U of L

During the first half of the 1900s, more than 6 million African-Americans migrated from the South to urban areas of the Midwest, North and West. Known as the Great Migration, it’s the subject of the book “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson, who’ll be in town Wednesday, March 2, to discuss the topic.

The lecture and book signing are sponsored by U of L’s Department of Pan-African Studies and the Center on Race and Inequality as well as the Louisville Urban League and will take place in U of L’s Strickler Hall.

Wilkerson’s best-selling book came out in 2010 and tackles the epic migration through three main characters, although she interviewed more than 1,200 people over the course of 15 years of research. She focuses on Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife who left Mississippi for Chicago in the 1930s; George Swanson Starling, a farmer who moved from Florida to New York City in the ’40s; and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, a doctor who relocated to Los Angeles from Louisiana in the ’50s. The title comes from a poem by Richard Wright about his own experience in the Great Migration.

Wilkerson is the former national correspondent and Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times, and she’s the first black woman to win a Pulitzer in U.S. journalism. The free lecture begins at 5:30 p.m. at Strickler Hall on U of L’s Belknap Campus.

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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle ( She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."