Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 3:18 pm


Isabel Wilkerson — a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the best-selling The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration — will speak at the College’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Wilkerson will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20, in Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, and will be available for a book signing after her talk. The free event is open to the public.

Wilkerson spent most of her career as a national correspondent and bureau chief at The New York Times. In 1994, she received the Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times profile of a fourth-grader from Chicago’s South Side and for two stories about the Midwestern flood of 1993. Wilkerson is the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting.

Wilkerson’s book, The Warmth of Other Suns, was published in 2010 and inspired by the experience of Wilkerson’s parents. The book documents the Great Migration, which lasted from 1915 to 1970 and involved six million people. One of the largest internal migrations in U.S. history, it changed the cultural and political landscape of America.

Wilkerson devoted 15 years to researching and writing The Warmth of Other Suns, interviewing more than 1,200 people and examining newly available census analyses and archival works. The book became a New York Times and national bestseller and won a number of juried prizes, including the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction.

Wilkerson’s talk at Grinnell College is sponsored by the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations and Human Rights; the President’s Office; the Office of Development and Alumni Relations; and the Office of Intercultural Engagement and Leadership.