Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Bestselling Author Isabel Wilkerson to Speak at Yale
Isabel Wilkerson, journalist and author of “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” will be the first featured speaker in the 2011 Poynter Fellowship in Journalism Lecture Series at Yale.
The event, co-sponsored by the Department of African American Studies at Yale, will take place at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, January 19, in the Morse Recital Hall of Sprague Memorial Hall, 470 College Street. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Wilkerson, who spent most of her career as a national correspondent and bureau chief at The New York Times, is the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in the history of American journalism and was the first black American to win for individual reporting.
Inspired by her own parents’ migration, Wilkerson devoted 15 years researching and writing her first book, “The Warmth of Other Suns.” The book chronicles the stories of a sharecropper’s wife, a laborer and a surgeon who were among the six million black Americans that fled the American South during the Great Migration between World War I and the 1970s. It is the story of how the northern cities evolve as a result of the migration, of the music and culture that might not have existed had these individuals not left the South in search of new beginnings.
Named one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year, “The Warmth of Other Suns” (September 2010) has received critical acclaim for telling one of the greatest underreported stories in American history. Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,200 individuals, unearthed archival works and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the epic story.
Wilkerson is a professor of journalism and director of narrative nonfiction at Boston University. She has lectured at Harvard University and has worked as a professor of journalism at Princeton and Emory universities.
Newspaper mogul Nelson Poynter ’27 M.A established the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale in 1967. Over the years, the fellowship has hosted lectures by eminent reporters, editors, broadcasters, filmmakers, columnists and critics, among others, in the news media.
Past Poynter Fellows include Tom Brokaw, David Brooks, Ira Glass, Soledad O’Brien, Charlie Rose and Margaret Warner.