The Warmth of Other Suns is simply excellent.
This book has received lots of accolades, and rightly so. I’m a bit late to the party, I admit, but it’s better late than never! Recently, I grabbed the audiobook to accompany me on my commute. Admittedly, I had previously checked out the book but couldn’t get through it. It simply wasn’t the right time I guess, as I was reading other books as well. Anyway, the interesting part is, before I began this book, I had just finished listening to Miles Davis’s autobiography. Miles and other well-known folks and their families migrated north or west, which we can say might have changed the course of their lives.
I’ve read lots of reviews about this book, some good, some not so good. For instance, one review I read stated that the book was too long and too comprehensive. Really? Insert side-eye. Yes, this isn’t the kind of book you’re going to read in one sitting. It just might take you a while to get through. It took me about a week or so to listen during my commute. I didn’t read the physical book, but I can say that its size can be daunting, but please, don’t let it deter you. It is worth the pages.
Likewise, if you haven’t figured it out, this book and its years of research and interviews, traces the great migration of African-Americans from the south to the north or west. We readers follow the lives of three migrants, Ida Mae Gladney, George Starling, and Dr. Robert Foster. Trust me when I tell you that you will enjoy reading (or listening) about them. I cried a bit, I admit. They made me think about my family. My immediate family did not migrate; both sides of my family stayed in the same small county. I did, however, have a few collateral ancestors who did move north or to a bigger city in the state. I often wonder why they decided to move and why the others stayed. And if they would do it all over again. I’m sure they probably would do it all again.
I am also currently reading Negroland by Margo Jefferson and hope to see how this book relates, if at all, to The Warmth of Other Suns.
In short, if you haven’t read The Warmth of Other Suns, please do yourself a favor and do so. I believe this book should be required reading, especially for those in high school and college. The great migration is an often overlooked subject, but this book eloquently teaches us all something about the migration, all the while remaining captivating.