Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Warmth of Other Suns: 95 - 164


[The Warmth of Other Suns]

"Some 555,000 colored people left the South during the decade of the First World War--more than all the colored people who had left in the first decades after the Emancipation Proclamation, which promised the freedoms they were now forced to pursue on their own" (162). --Isabel Wilkerson

In the sections that we've been reading Isabel Wilkerson continues to sketch the "beginnings" of migration, or more simply movement, for her main characters -- Ida Mae Gladney, George Swanson Starling, and Robert Pershing Foster -- in The Warmth of Other Suns.  

On the one hand, Wilkerson mentions macro-economic conditions: "The sharecroppers owed the planters, the planters owed the merchants, the merchants owed the banks, and the banks were often beholden to some business concern in the North, where most of the real money was in the fist place" (96). At the same time, Wilkerson highlights daily indignities and troubles that black people endured in the South that would raise the possibility of them seeking out lives under other suns.

After reading the pages 95 - 164, what topic or scene did you view as most helpful for thinking about the Great Migration? Why? Please provide page number citation. 

42 comments:

Jaleelah Muhammad said...

The two scenes that helped me vision the need to migrate North were from Ida Mae and George Starling. Ida Mae explained the food chain if you will with businessmen on the top and slave crop pickers on the bottom(97). On page 96, she said the most of the real money to be made was in the North. For Starling, he yearned to be in school to learn but was forced to stay behind and pick in the fields. For someone with his ambitions and love for knowledge, it's understandable why people like him wanted to leave the South for they were less likely able to receive such opportunities.

Mikaela S said...

The scene that I found most helpful for thinking about the Great Migration is found on page 164. "Oblivious to the hand-wringing, trainloads of colored people took their chances and crowded railroad platforms. Men hopped freight trains and hoboed out of the South in grain bins. Women walked off cotton fields in Texas, hiding their Sunday dresses under their field rags, bound for California" (Wilkerson pg. 164). I believe this scene accurately depicted the migration because of all the details it included. The things people had to go through in that time is absolutely mind blowing.

Tayler G said...

This book really vividly describes the Great Migration and what African Americans went through. But one scenario that stuck out to me was when Pershing needed a job to help pay for school and the white interviewer denied him a job because he was currently in school. The white man did not want Pershing to get the job to help pay for school (116). Whites didn't want educated African Americans because it would throw off the caste system. I thought this was a helpful scenario because this is still relevant in todays society, some people do not want to see African Americans succeed and will do everything in their power to prevent them from excelling.
Tayler G.

Shervonti N. said...

A little snippet on page 99 really caught my attention. Although many parts of the book so far have shaped my image of the Great Migration, there is something from this particular excerpt... "Many years later, the people would stand up to water hoses and sheriffs' dogs to be treated as equal. But for now the people resisted in silent, everyday rebellions that would build up to a storm at midcentury" (99). The quote put an image in my head that resembled many people standing up for themselves long passed due. Their silent rebellions consisted of actually taking the trip to the north and finding somewhere better for themselves one by one (or few at a time) and that ultimately led to something huge (the storm at midcentury). It is still known that things will be bad considering even years later people will be "fighting to be treated as equals" but the lines really shaped my idea for what these individuals had to face.

jingolder said...

A part that really caught my attention was the section from page 98-99 that describe the day-to-day lives of cotton pickers. With statements like, "They picked until they were hypnotized by the picking," and, "The sacks were strapped over their shoulders and dragged in the dirt behind them like an extra limb, the sacks weighing as much as a human adult by the end of the day and making them stoop all the more," Wilkerson really paints the picture of how work conditions and procedures had not changed much since the abolishing of slavery. Conditions were still harsh, and they were not respected for who they were as workers. They were only respected for their bodies, and how much cotton they could pick without asking for other resources.

-John H.

Erica King said...

The scene that made me think more about the Great Migration was around page 104-105 when the author talked about the Depression and how everyone went to "begging and scraping to eat". Even the rich people was struggling, it just makes me think that if the more wealthy people are struggling then I can just imagine how bad it must have been for the poor throughout that whole time era.

Paris Smith said...

I think the scene that struck me the most was on page 164, where is said "oblivious to the hand-wringing, trainloads of colored people took their chances and crowded railroad platforms. Men hopped freight trains and hoboed out of the South in grain bins. Women walked off cotton fields in Texas, hiding their Sunday dresses under their field rags, bound for California" (Wilkerson pg. 164). I just could feel the strength and the courage pouring out into the page. These people went through hell and high water to get to the north and they did it because they wanted a better life for themselves and essentially a better life for us so that we would not have to experience everything that they went through.

Kaine C. said...

The scene that got my attention was when the author talked about how the Great Depression had everybody looking for scraps, not just the poor but the wealthy. The wealthy finally knew what it felt like to be poor. Some of the poor do that daily. On top of that, Ida Mae lost her child because of a sickness. There were no cures at the time. This really shows how the Great Migration affected everybody.

Asher said...

The part of the story that made me reflect on the Great Migration was around pages 103-105. The author directly talks about the Great Depression and how people are desperate for food and everyone turned to begging and scrapping for something to eat. She also referenced how, even the rich struggled, and that it wasn't the poor man's struggle, it was everyone's struggle. It really put the Depression into perspective. It's easy to feel sympathy when we see those are less fortunate become even more less fortunate. But, when we learn about those who are fortunate also struggle, it really shows that, yes, the Depression affected everyone.

-Asher Denkyirah

Lawrence Payne said...

I remember learning about the great depression and its effect on the world as a whole. The fact that during this time the rich became poor and the poor even less wealthy sort of reminded me of a book a read called Bud, Not Buddy. The story was centered around a orphaned 10 yr. old boy during the Great Depression. Even in the book it wasn't sugar coated as to how the world truly was at this time and how the words, "People took to begging and scraping to eat."(104) rang true.

Jessica D said...

The Great Migration was really brought to my attention when I got to page 104. A lot of people were suffering from the Great Depression, including white people. People were begging and scraping to eat. There was a white that started stealing hogs to sell and eat as his own. The Great Migration had a drastic impact on every race.

Keanu Rodriguez said...

The topic that stood out to me the most was on page 113 that began "Each state and city had a different requirement or custom to signal how the races were to be separated." The paragraph goes on to describe the different examples of how different states would regulate segregation. It is almost common knowledge to know that there was segregation in the United States. However, I find it all the more disturbing when I made the realization that we were at the point in time where we as a country passed laws where each state had INDIVIDUAL preference on how they chose to discriminate black people.

Carlie Bibbs said...

The topic about field work and how slaves had it in the field really helped me understand why they wanted to migrate and have new lives aside from the ones they were so used to in the South. Day after day they continuously worked doing hard labor. They barely even got paid for their work and they were held up to high expectations each day. I can truly see why they would decide to leave and go somewhere else.

Anitra B. said...

One scene that I thought was important in understanding why people wanted to migrate from the South was on page 98 when Wilkerson talked about those picking cotton. Just her describing how they worked under the conditions that they were in were eye opening. It was also interesting when she talked about how "there were ways to make life easier or harder for yourself when it came to picking cotton" and described the "tricks" to add more weight to the picker's load.

Joshua Jones said...

The scene on page 99 caught my attention. The book has captivated the Great Migration but the part, "Many years later, the people would stand up to water hoses and sheriff's dogs to be treated equal" really got to me (99). It is this section which helped me understand the furthered struggle of the those who were migrating at the time. little did they know, they would have to continue fighting years later for the same rights, leading to the modern day American system.

-Joshua J.

Lindsey McCall said...

The scene on page 99 helped me imagine the migration more because it talked about how they silently made their moves. This stuck with me because I thought only if our people now would stop discussing what should be done and saying what's wrong and just make the moves to make things right, maybe we would be even further along with our goal of equality.

Olivia S. said...

Page 116 had the largest depiction of the struggles associated with African Americans during the Great Migration. Pershing was struggling to find a way to pay for his education, thus, went job hunting. He was denied a position he was qualified for simply because he was African American. Although this was not what the interviewer claimed was the reason, it was obvious that race was the sole reason he was denied the job. This shows the struggle for equality and independence for the African American community during the Great Migration.

Jessie C. said...

On page 163, it talks about the steps southerners took to keep POC from moving north. "When the people kept leaving, the South resorted to coercion and interception worthy of the Soviet Union." The paragraph goes on to describe different examples of the tactics used. This helped me with visualizing the Great Migration because earlier in the reading they talked about how many people were leaving but this section helped me understand just how serious the migration of all the POC was to the south.

Persephone C. said...

On page 113, she talked about how Pershing was moving out of the south. The story really grasped my attention where it said that the eleventh grade "was as far as you could go if you were colored in Louisiana." His bus ride was terrible, and he was forced to keep moving further and further back, so the white people could sit ahead of him.
Pershing had a rough life in the south, but he had the privilege of moving to the Northeast. There, he was able to go to college, and live a happier, more humane lifestyle. The Great Migration was a positive movement, and a turning point for African Americans.

Natasha said...

Page 97 really caught my attention because it was so heartbreaking. Historian Donald Halley says, "It was like piking a hundred pounds of feathers, a hundred pounds of lint dust." He refers to picking cotton as "one of the most backbreaking firms of stoop later ever known." Accordingly, Ida Mae would have to pick 70 bolls just to make a single pound of cotton. That just seems absurd to me. I can't believe that much work would go into just one pound. It was torture for them and the descriptions Ida uses for when they were in the fields were almost hard to read.

Aliyah B. said...

The topic that was the most helpful for me understanding The Great Migration was on page 99 where the author started to explain what it was like picking cotton for the characters everyday. It caught my attention that they would be in competition with each other to pick the most cotton and that they would try to make it look like they had the most cotton picked. They became extremely clever with the ways that they would trick others into thinking they had more cotton than they had. It is interesting to me that they needed to convince others that they had the most cotton. It shows how much they were struggling to earn money.

Kiara C said...

a scene that really stood out to me was found on page 104. it talks about not only is the great migration happen but also the great depression. it brings to light the fact that everyone is struggling even the white people. and how hard it is to eat everyday.

Barry F. said...

One part of the reading that helped me understand the Great Migration was when Pershing Foster when to Morehouse College. W.E.B. Du Bois came to Atlanta University and the President of the university did not agree with Du Bois ideals since he was from the north (p. 120). Also, Foster's dream was to get out of the South and move to California or go to graduate school in the north. This was seen as a status symbol to go to schools in the north.

Jade H. said...

Pages 104-105 talk about the Depression, and it made me realize how hard of a time it was for everybody. She talks about how people were looking for scraps to eat, and it was not just the poor who struggled, but the rich as well. It depicts a scene that nobody would want to see, or better yet experience.

Jade H.

Alicia S said...

Page 99 helped me visualize the great migration the most. This part helped me visualize because it showed how in the future we would still be fighting to be treated equally, and when they mentioned we would have to stand up to the sheriffs with their dogs I thought about the black lives matter movement going on currently and all the police brutality

Samiya B said...

The scene that helped me understand the great migration the most was on page 163-164. It says, "the police tore up the tickets of colored passengers as they stood waiting to board their hopes of escapes." This part helped me because it made it more real to see how difficult it was for the people of the south to actually make it to the north and it was really a risky move.

Tameah Foley said...

The scene that was most helpful for understanding the great migration was on pages 106-107. George is talking to another picker and he says that there was no point in him going to college because he was still there with everyone else picking cotton. George's rebuttal stood out to me because he said that "when the opportunity presents itself" he can leave and the other pickers can't. I believe that the educated vs. the non-educated was a big factor in determining those who started the Great Migration.

Shardai J-H. said...

From page 105, "People learned to want less and live with whatever they had," helped me better understand the struggles of the Great Migration. Families began to live in fear of the unknown. What they had planned was out of reach and many could only hope. Unfortunately, still to Whites, being Black still meant obedience. Not many people were trustworthy during the time of the Depression.

Jonathan Pittman said...

What really put things into perspective for me would have to be how George Starling, in essence, started a union in the groves. More specifically when his pushing the limits really became an issue around pages 155-157. Even though the other pickers had ratted him, Sam, and Mud out, George was still a positive impact on the in his community. He had changed so much that he started getting the wrong type of attention. Without the kid that he had helped for free his life would have been over like that. The only way the owners could deal with him was to kill him, and seeing that George would not compromise his ideals, he had to leave.

Kelsey W said...

I thought it was most helpful when reading about George Starling going to Detroit for a short time on page 130. I thought it was interesting because you usually do not hear about people migrating and then going back to the South. He had schooling and thought he could make more money up north which he did but he did not realize how hard it would be to simply live there. Riots started breaking out over rumors and he realized that the money was not worth living in such a dangerous place.

Alona Davenport said...

The scene in the story that helped me view the Great Migration started off as quickly as the chapter did. Right at page 95, it is mentioned how the people would go out to work in the cotton field for Mr. Edd. Cotton picking is typically seen as a slave job for the people that weren't able to do anything else. It is connected to the poor and struggling society who are just trying to make ends meet. With those associations, it was easy to see how the Great Migration was.
Alona D.

Ashley Bass said...

The scene that helped me understand The Great Migration best was on page 99. "Many years later, the people would stand up to water hoses and sheriffs' dogs to be treated as equal. But for now the people resisted in silent, everyday rebellions that would build up to a storm at midcentury." I feel like something similar is going on today. After sitting quietly for so many years and allowing police brutality to happen, we are finally standing up. It's crazy and also relieving that all the police that were abusing their power are finally getting caught. Just like many years ago, we are, once again today, standing up to 'water hoses and sherrifs' to be treated as equal.

Xavier Morrison- Wallace said...

I found it interesting how Isabel Wilkerson fast forwarded to the future (in the Great Depression) and explained how people did migrate up to the north and what gave them the idea. The two examples were George Swanson Starling(p.gs106-112) and Robert Joseph Pershing Foster(p.gs113-122). In George’s case he was well educated but working a poorly paying job. His education made it possible for him to move towards higher paying work even if it is up north. As for Pershing, it was very possible for him to move north to achieve a higher education there, but didn’t. While both of them stayed in the south, their ideas and hopes of achieving a dream and a better life in the north were shared by many. These ideas are what led other African Americans away from the south.

John Kriha said...

A scene that stood out to me, was on Page 158 with the surgeon Robert Pershing. “He had worked long hours, odd hours, building up his reputation, but it had left him no further ahead. Most southern hospitals wouldn’t allow him in an operating room no matter how gifted he was or what he’d done in the army.” This was a perfect example of why there was a need for the migration to the North. A colored man who with just as much, if not more, skill than the other surgeons around him and fought for the south, was still discriminated against despite his credentials. It was the hope that a better life existed in the North that played a major role in the migration.

Bryce Barker said...

On page 103 Ida Mae talks about how she named her son James Walter. This was the name of a white man that neither her nor George had met, but they knew that he was successful. That little section does a good job of showcasing part of the Great Migration because many African Americans wanted their children to be successful and in a changing world many African Americans named their children after successful whites in hopes that their luck with success would rub off onto their children.

cassidy oliver said...

The conditions in the south prior to the great migration was terrible, specially since the enforcing of the Jim crow laws. With such terrible conditions, "people learned to want less and live with whatever they had" (Wilkerson 106). The terrible conditions operated as a push factor that lead to the great migration. The conditions would not necessarily get better once traveling up north which reversed the effect.

Tiera Williams said...

The lifestyle lead before the migration was hard. Page 98 states, "They picked until they were hypnotized by the picking." This quote is referencing just how much cotton they picked. I couldn't imagine doing such a labor until I was hypnotized. This was most helpful to me for thinking about the Great Migration because it placed me in a real life scenario that I could not see myself settling for. The Great Migration was necessary even if the change just meant not having to pick so much cotton.

Tiera W.

Tiera Williams said...

Isabel Wilkerson's references to deserts, forked roads, or never-ending darkness created a clearer picture of all the things you face with change. IT also made me think about how change isn't all sunny and rainbows. In addition it makes me think of the Robert Frost wrote, "I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference." Foster's road traveled, although tough, would make all the difference in his future. ,

Tiera W.

Alexis Acoff said...

One of the scenes that helped me imagine the great migration was on page 109 when the author was describing how the men knew the ins and outs to trying to pick the most cotton. People did whatever they could to provide for their family and be able to be selected the next time to be a picker. Another thing that stuck out to me was on pages 108 and 109 when they told the story of how 10 year old Reuben had to help his uncle remove a body that had been lynched, and how this memory made him mentally hard from then on.

Tashawna Nash said...

On thing that stuck with me reading this section came from page 104 in the section talking about the Depression and how a white man was stealing from others just to be able to have enough to eat and also about how people learned to want less and live with what they have. This stuck with me because it really shows how much people were struggling during that time if white people had to turn to stealing just to survive.

Brianna R. said...

Something that stood out to me when they were traveling along the Mississippi River into Arkansas and all the people were packed tightly together and Pershing reflected back upon his experience. He said " Some have endured and that's all they've known...They don't expect anything better, and nobody's demanding anything better" (114). Pershing said he felt he had to submit which demonstrated to me that he was not one to settle or get comfortable with the oppression he was forced to be in.

Baileigh Scott said...

I believe that the most touching part about the need to migrate was the chance for opportunity that these people would not have otherwise had. People learn to accept less and settle for unfair conditions and chances to become the best that they can be. On p 106, Wilkerson states "people learned to want less and live with whatever they had," which is true but also very sad because until the migration, what they had in the south was all they had ever known.