November could be called “Isabel Wilkerson Month” at the University of St. Thomas.
Wilkerson – the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in journalism and author of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration – will be either the topic or the speaker at six events that will be held at the university between Nov. 1 and Nov. 11.
A former New York Times national correspondent and bureau chief, Wilkerson won her Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the floods that ravaged the Midwest in 1993.
In her multiple-award-winning The Warmth of Other Suns, she chronicles the decades-long movement of blacks out of the Jim Crow South into the North, Midwest and West in search of opportunity and freedom. Her research included interviews with more than 1,200 people.
The National Book Critics Circle named it the year’s top nonfiction book. The New York Times named it one of the 10 best books of 2010 and called it a "massive and masterly account of the Great Migration ... a narrative epic rigorous enough to impress all but the crankiest of scholars, yet so immensely readable as to land the author a future place on Oprah's couch."
The university’s College of Arts and Sciences distributed the book to its faculty and staff this fall and will host a series of discussion groups before Wilkerson’s arrival on campus. She will speak at a Broadcast Journalism Series lecture, co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences and Minnesota Public Radio, on Nov. 10. The following day she will speak at the annual dinner and fundraiser for ThreeSixty Journalism, a nonprofit program that trains Minnesota teens from diverse communities in the skills of journalism.
All events are open to the public but some require reservations. They are:
- Conversations about The Warmth of Other Suns will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, with Dr. Kanishka Chowdhury, St. Thomas English Department and American Culture and Difference Program, in the O’Shaughnessy Room (Room 108) of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Light refreshments will be served.
- Conversations about The Warmth of Other Suns will be held from 8 to 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, with Dr. Todd Lawrence, St. Thomas English Department and American Culture and Difference Program, in the O’Shaughnessy Room (Room 108) of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Light refreshments will be served.
- Conversations about The Warmth of Other Suns will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, with Dr. Tanya Gladney, St. Thomas Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, in the O’Shaughnessy Room (Room 108) of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. Light refreshments will be served. Gladney is a member of the Gladney family whose migration is chronicled in the book.
- Videos related to Wilkerson’s book will be shown from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the O’Shaughnessy Room of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center. The videos were created by high school participants in the ThreeSixty Journalism program. They interviewed African American elders who migrated during the period covered in The Warmth of Other Suns. The elders describe the Southern communities they left and talk about the situations they encountered upon their arrival in Minnesota.
- Wilkerson will speak at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the university’s St. Paul campus. Her talk, featuring an interview with Minnesota Public Radio’s Stephen Smith, is the second in MPR’s 2011-2012 Broadcast Journalism Series. Co-sponsors are St. Thomas' College of Arts and Sciences and Communication and Journalism Department. The talk is free but tickets are required. Reserve them by going to this Minnesota Public Radio website.
- Finally, Wilkerson will speak Friday, Nov. 11, at the annual dinner and fundraiser for ThreeSixty Journalism. The nonprofit program for teens from diverse communities celebrates its 10th year at St. Thomas this fall. WCCO anchor Angela Davis Drew will emcee the event and “Good Question” reporter Jason DeRusha will host a raffle and auction. The event, which includes a reception, dinner and program, runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Schulze Grand Atrium of the St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis. For information about purchasing tickets, covering the event or sponsoring the event, contact AmeriCorps VISTA marketing coordinator Andrea Salazar at (651) 962-5225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.