BABEL: Isabel Wilkerson
Join Just Buffalo Literary Center for an evening with National Book Critics Circle Award-winning and bestselling author Isabel Wilkerson.
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration
ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
The New York Times • USA Today • O: The Oprah Magazine • Publishers Weekly • Salon • Newsday • The Daily Beast
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
The New Yorker • The Washington Post • The Economist • Boston Globe • San Francisco Chronicle • Chicago Tribune • Entertainment Weekly • Philadelphia Inquirer • The Guardian • The Seattle Times • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • The Christian Science Monitor
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNER
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
In this beautifully written masterwork, the Pulitzer Prize–winnner and bestselling author of Caste 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.
Individual BABEL event tickets include a ticket for in-person attendance at Kleinhans Music Hall, as well as a virtual link to view from home via Livestream. All tickets will be issued electronically for the 2022–2023 season, though you may opt to have a paper ticket mailed to you in as well. (NOTE: Any paper tickets sold on or after April 20, will be held at the will call table inside the lobby the night of the event.)
- General Admission: $40 each
- General Admission with Library Card: $35 each (have your BECPL card ready!)
- VIP Patron: $100 each (includes catered pre-event reception attended by the featured author and preferred seating)
- Student: $10 each (must present a valid Student ID at events)
NOTE: Currently, proof of COVID-19 vaccination is not required for entry to BABEL events. We will continue to monitor health & safety recommendations and communicate any changes or updates to ticketholders as necessary. Please note that we are unable to provide refunds for tickets.
Isabel WilkersonPulitzer Prize Winner, National Humanities Medal Recipient, & Bestselling Author
Isabel Wilkerson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize winner and the National Humanities Medal, is the author of The New York Times bestsellers The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. A gifted storyteller, Wilkerson captivates audiences with the universal human story of migration and reinvention, as well as the unseen hierarchies that have divided us as a nation, in order to find a way to transcend them.
She has become an impassioned voice for demonstrating how history can help us understand ourselves, our country and our current era of upheaval. In her writing, Wilkerson brings the invisible and the marginalized into the light and into our hearts. In her lectures, she explores with authority the need to reconcile America’s karmic racial inheritance—a notion she has expressed in her widely-shared Op-Ed essays in The New York Times.
Wilkerson captivates audiences with the universal story of migration and the enduring search for the American dream, the origins of our shared commonality. She draws a direct link between the leaderless revolution known as the Great Migration and the protest movements for social justice today, both of them responses to unacknowledged and unaddressed history.
The Warmth of Other Suns tells the true story of three people among the six million who made the decision of their lives during the Great Migration, a watershed in American history. Wilkerson spent 15 years working on Warmth, interviewing more than 1,200 people to tell what she calls one of the greatest underreported stories of the 20th Century. In addition to the National Book Critics Circle Award, the book won the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize and was shortlisted for both the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
The Warmth of Other Suns became a New York Times and national bestseller. It 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 New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post, among others. It made national news when President Obama chose the book for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times Magazine named The Warmth of Other Suns to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time and in 2019, TIME Magazine named it one of the “10 Best Non-Fiction Books” of the decade.
Isabel Wilkerson’s latest book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, published in August 2020 to critical acclaim, with Dwight Garner of The New York Times calling it, “An instant American classic” and Oprah choosing it for her monthly book club pick. Picked as a Time’s 2020 must-read book, the book examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how a hierarchy of social divisions still defines our lives today. Wilkerson brings the past’s complexities to vivid life through her passionate research and her profound gift for connecting with audiences of all backgrounds. Caste is being adapted into a Netflix film directed, written, and produced by Ava DuVernay.
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 in the history of American journalism.
She has lectured on narrative nonfiction at the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton, Emory and Boston universities. She has lectured at more than 200 other colleges and universities across the United States, Europe and in Asia. Her work has garnered seven honorary degrees, most recently from Bates College and Southern Methodist University. She has appeared on national programs such as CBS’s 60 Minutes, NPR’s Fresh Air, NBC’s Nightly News, MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, and others.
In conferring Isabel Wilkerson the 2015 National Humanities Medal, the National Endowment for the Humanities honored her “for championing the stories of an unsung history. Her masterful combination of intimate human narratives with broader societal trends allows us to measure the epic migration of a people by its vast impact on our Nation and on each individual life.”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.