2011 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism
The Warmth of Other Suns
Six million African Americans took part in the Great Emigration from the South to the North and West during six decades of the 20th Century. Isabel Wilkerson, a daughter of participants in this migration, interviewed 1,200 of these undaunted men and women to research her magisterial account of how their exodus remade the entire country, North and South. As beautifully written as it is meticulously researched, this book has already captured the imagination of thousands of devoted fans. How and why these men and women fled the constraints of their lives down South to re-invent their lives and the regions they resettled forms the spine of a book which is as enjoyable as it is important. Isabel Wilkerson has produced an unforgettable portrait of race, class and politics in 20th century America.
Isabel Wilkerson won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. The first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism and the first African American to win for individual reporting, she has also won the George Polk Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship. She has lectured on narrative at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and has served as Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University and as the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at Emory University. She is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at Boston University. During the Great Migration, her parents journeyed from Georgia and southern Virginia to Washington, D.C., where she was born and reared. This is her first book.