Eccles Centre, British Library
The African-American Great Migration
Pulitzer-Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson will discuss the Great Migration, one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century. It lasted from 1915 to 1970, involved six million people and was one of the largest internal migrations in U.S. history. It changed the country, North and South. It brought us John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, Toni Morrison, August Wilson, Bill Russell, Motown, Denzel Washington, Michelle Obama — all products of the Great Migration. It changed the cultural and political landscape of the United States, exerting pressure on the South to change and paving the way toward equal rights for the lowest caste people in the country.
Isabel Wilkerson is the author of The Warmth of Other Suns, the New York Times bestseller that chronicles the true story of three people who made the decision of their lives during the Great Migration, a watershed in American history. The book won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize and was shortlisted for both the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. The book was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, including The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year, Amazon’s 5 Best Books of the Year and Best of the Year lists in The Economist, The Guardian, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Seattle Times, The San Francisco Examiner, Salon, The Christian Science Monitor, O Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and over a dozen others. It made national news when President Barack Obama chose the book for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times Magazine added Warmth to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of The New York Times in 1994, 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.
This event is sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in collaboration with the US Embassy, London.