The Warmth of Other Suns

What It Is:

A non-fiction telling of the Great Migration as went mostly untold in my formal education.

What I liked:

The author uses the lives of 3 people who lived in separate times to tell the protracted story of the Great Migration. I also liked to hear about the effects of teh Great Migration on the city of Chicago and other destination cities.

What Stuck out to me:

If you like stories of people’s lives, then this book is great. I have always enjoyed stories and it is interesting to be a bit of a fly on the wall of what many would consider unremarkable our unspectacular lives. However, each day I am more inclined to believe every life is remarkable and can share insight and wisdom if we take some time to appreciate it.

What Astounded me:

Despite knowing that the rules and laws were enforced differently between the North and Segregationist South, I had never thought about what that entailed. I was heartbroken to hear of stories of lynchings that took place because an African American did not know the unwritten rules and customs of being in the South. Greeting a white person impolitely, talking to the wrong white person, or being perceived to have looked at a white person incorrectly could all cost a black individual their life.

Last Thought:

Although many of the stories told of the segregated South are horrifying, the rest of this book seems like a good introduction to social justice. It also illuminated the myriad factors at play including racism and prejudice, the depression and wars, sharecropping and automation, politics and justice, and uses evidence to correct factually false stereotypes.

Quotes:

By their actions, they did not dream the American Dream, they willed it into being by a definition of their own choosing. They did not ask to be accepted but declared themselves the Americans that perhaps few others recognized but that they had always been deep within their hearts (Loc9753).

By the time the Migration reached its conclusion, sociologists would have a name for that kind of hard-core racial division. They would call it hypersegregation, a kind of separation of the races that was so total and complete that blacks and whites rarely intersected outside of work (Loc7263).

Until the 1943 uprising in Detroit, most riots in the United States, from the 1863 Draft Riots in New York to the riots in Tulsa in 1921, to Atlanta in 1906 to Washington, D.C., to Chicago, Springfield, and East St. Louis, Illinois, and Wilmington, North Carolina, among others, had been white attacks on colored people, often resulting in the burning of entire colored sections or towns (Loc2467).