Friday, January 23, 2015

Friday Books: The Warmth of Other Suns

Last Friday I was sick, and I needed to be out of town for several days (Mom in hospital, etc).. so I missed posting a book review. Here I am, back and feeling better (hooray)! And my mom is also doing better.

I read The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson. This book was so interesting! It prompted me to ponder my memories of the years it describes. It follows three different African-American people who migrated from the South (in USA) to the North during the great migration, 1915-1970.

Once again my white privilege slapped me across the face, reminding me about the depth of every day struggles people of color experienced in the South - the de facto slavery that existed in the form of sharecropping, underemployment, intimidation, fear, extreme segregation, and no protection under the law (and protective laws being ignored by local law enforcers). Once they arrived in the North, certain aspects of life were better, but it was by no means a life of equality. My brain knows all these things happened; my conscious mind gets to ignore it due to my whiteness and privilege I enjoy in my daily life. I still am sometimes shocked to realize that these awful things were not just a horrible part of our history, but were still going on during my life time. I have had the luxury to allow myself to be somewhat oblivious even as I attempt to keep up with social issues.

This book was important for me to read and to further try to understand our collective history. This book about the far and recent past was very timely. History matters.

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