The Warmth of Other Suns Blog Post

Mar 25, 2016

“The Great Migration: The African American Exodus from The South” by Dan Kopf tells factual details about the mass migration of blacks to Northern America during the 19th and 20th centuries. With quotes from Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns, the reason and method behind this migration-- its push and pull factors are explained. Long before the numbers greatly peaked, slaves of the 1700’s and 1800’s had fled to the north to claim their freedom, marking the paths that thousands would travel along centuries later. The true First Wave of migration occurred because of the First World War as the Second Wave did likewise, as stated by both the article and the novel. The war effort led to an increased demand in jobs, especially that of industrial workers, which lay in the north. However, blacks continued to face prejudice after their journey, as proven in The Warmth of Other Suns. Ida Mae, Robert Pershing Foster, and George Swanson Starling are real-life examples of the hardships of the underlying prejudice of the north, and the struggles they faced are told in the novel to attest to the truth that the north was not always the promised land. Ida Mae, Robert, and George are just three among the millions that made the journey to escape the Jim Crow South. One thing brought up in the article that was not mentioned in the book was reverse migration, a term I had never heard now. After the Great Migration ended in the 1970’s, a reverse migration back to their homeland took place and is still ongoing now. This is just proof that blacks, perhaps more among any other race, continue to shape our country and define its boundaries.