The Warmth of Other Suns

by Isabel Wilkerson

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What time period is The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration focused on?

Quick answer:

The time period is approximately from 1920 until 1965, a period when African Americans were finally free to migrate around the country after having endured many years of slavery in the United States.

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The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration was written by Isabel Wilkerson. Over the period of time between about 1920 until 1965, millions of African Americans fled the South to go to cities in the North and the West to make a better life for themselves. There were opportunities in those areas that they could not find in the South. The Industrial Revolution had transformed the nation's economy, and African Americans had many useful skills to offer. The Roaring 1920s brought creativity, prosperity, and hope to many African Americans.

Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of individuals in vivid historical detail, which brings the story to life. Wide accessibility to transportation, such as cars and trains, allowed African Americans to become mobile across the country for the first time in the first quarter of the 20th century. Wilkerson's story, therefore, really could have only been told from about 1920 until 1965.

By the end of that period of time, many cities were starting to become ghettos, so the great quality of life that African Americans sought to experience was not attainable for most of them by about 1970. Nevertheless, the accounts in this story offer insights into the lives of millions of people that migrated within the United States. It's a story that hasn't been told often, if at all.

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