The Warmth of Other Suns

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The Warmth of Other Suns
The Warmth of Other Suns (Isabel Wilkerson book) cover.jpg
Hardcover edition
AuthorIsabel Wilkerson
CountryUnited States
SubjectThe Great Migration, Second Great Migration
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
Media typePrint, e-book, audiobook

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (2010) is a historical study of the Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award among other accolades.[1][2]


This work tells the story of the Great Migration and the Second Great Migration, the movement of African Americans out of the Southern United States to the Midwest, Northeast and West from approximately 1915 to 1970.[1][2] The book intertwines a general history and statistical analysis of the entire period. It includes the biographies of three persons: a sharecropper's wife who left Mississippi in the 1930s for Chicago, named Ida Mae Brandon Gladney; an agricultural worker, George Swanson Starling, who left Florida for New York City in the 1940s; and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, a doctor who left Louisiana in the early 1950s, moving to Los Angeles.


The title of the book derives from a poem by author Richard Wright, who himself moved from the South to Chicago, in the 1920s.[3] The poem is excerpted here:

I was leaving the South
to fling myself into the unknown...
I was taking a part of the South
to transplant in alien soil,
to see if it could grow differently,
if it could drink of new and cool rains,
bend in strange winds,
respond to the warmth of other suns
and, perhaps, to bloom."

Awards and honors[edit]


  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, Random House (hardcover, first), ISBN 978-0-679-44432-9
  • Paperback, electronic book, and audiobook editions


  1. ^ a b "The Lives Gained by Fleeing Jim Crow" by Janet Maslin, New York Times Book Review, August 30, 2010
  2. ^ a b "Freedom Trains" by David Oshinsky, New York Times Book Review, September 2, 2010
  3. ^ Burch, Audra D.S. (2011-11-20). "Leaving home, and finding it". Miami Herald. Retrieved 22 December 2011.

External links[edit]