Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Warmth of Other Suns: 223-284

[The Warmth of Other Suns]

By Ieisha Banks
“What did it look like at the time, Chicago?” I asked her, half a life later.
“It looked like Heaven to me then,” she said. (226). —Isabel Wilkerson
For this week's reading (223 – 284), Wilkerson paints a vivid image of the tremendous cities where African American moved to during the Great Migration.She mentions the many challenges and opportunities that people encountered when they moved to major urban areas.

What challenge or opportunity for migrants who moved to cities did you view as most intriguing? Why did that challenge or opportunity intrigue you? Please provide page citation.

50 comments:

Alexandra J said...


I thought it was very interesting learning about Harlem and how migration influenced the property owner situation. The property owners were very reluctant to change, but the notice on page 250 caught my eye because it says, "...this issue has been forced upon us." It was most intriguing to me because when you think of Harlem now, and most towns back east in this area, the diversity is apparent. Not only is Harlem very diverse currently, but the variety of races and religions is what makes this city so culturally different from others. Although there are still issues to overcome regarding race, diversity is seen more as notable instead of a burden.

Joey N. said...

A entity I found intriguing while reading this particular section was the description of Seventh Avenue on pg. 251. The place mentioned seemed colorful and lively, filled with countless opportunities for leisure.

devinrules97 said...

The challenge that was most intriguing to me was on page 232. The Becks were and African American family that moved to Los Angeles. They wanted to live in a neighborhood that they were comfortable in. The neighborhood was mostly white and the sellers wouldn't sell to black people. They had to pay extra just to live in the house. They also had to move in during the night in order to not be seen and harassed by their neighbors. One of their neighbors lit their tree on fire. Other neighbors started to move out of the neighborhood because the Beck were there. This was crazy to think that a city as diverse as L.A. still had racial and segregated thoughts even with the growing number of African Americans moving in.
-Devin S.

Jacqueline C. said...

The most intriguing thing during migration to me was that blacks were leaving the South and going up North to feel safe and have better living conditions. On page 237, Robert was set on living in L.A. even when Dunlap showed him Compton where many minorities lived. This is even after hearing the prejudice the Clements went through when they first moved to L.A. He wanted to live lavish instead of comfortable around people like him. He seemed to be willing to take that chance, which I could understand in some aspect because he thought he was moving to somewhere better. Although it may not have been as much segregation as the South, it was still present.

Sierra Ewing said...

I found the section (starting on page 253 and continuing onto page 257) discussing the black patient and the refusal to be tended to a black doctor to be very interesting. Two quotes in particular explained the shock of the situation. "There were many things one could say about the South, but he had never experienced rejection by patients of his own kind and hadn't anticipated such a thing in this new place." Further down the page (255), "Colored people in California didn't have to go to colored doctors if they didn't want to."
This was something totally unexpected when in the South, black doctors were so highly revered. The author states, "They had choices colored people in the South couldn't dream of."
Incredible story.

Jamesha M. said...

"...northerners would find creative ways to segregate the migrant children from the white children when so inclined...they [colored pupils] share seats with white pupils, a method used regularly by one teacher for punishing white pupils"(265). I find this quote very intriguing because I was always taught that the North was better for African Americans and that it was a place where they could live freely, I never realized or even thought that African Americans may have still been subjected to segregation.

Aja J. said...

What I found most intriguing was on page 228 when George finally l arrived to New York. He was introduced to something so different from the world he knew and decided that he would make the best of i because it was a better situation than where he was coming from.

Deborrah Blackburn said...

One of the challenges that I thought was intriguing was about Robert Foster (253-259). Robert moved to Los Angeles to work at a physician's practice. In this section he explains his struggles of being a black doctor and about trying to earn enough money to send for his family. He eventually earned enough money to rent an apartment and send for his family.
Deborrah B.

Jazmyn Maggitt said...

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The story that I found the most intriguing was Robert Foster (p. 280-284). His determination to prove that he could open up and have his own practice was so inspiring. He knew that so many people out there were waiting to see him fail, and he wouldn't give them that satisfaction. He knew what he was capable of and he was going to make sure that the people of both Monroe and L.A. knew it too.

Kayleigh E. said...

What I found most intriguing was on page 228-229 when it asked if the man saw himself as a part of a great tidal wave. He responded "No... I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a mainly way without the fear of getting lynched at night." All of these people migrating just want to survive. They do not even realize how impactful each individual one of them are. Change starts with one person and single everyday people can make a big difference in the world.

Asher said...

The most intriguing challenge was mostly George's arrival in New York (pg 228). It was such a different world to him, from where he came from. The sites, the people, just basically everything. But, he decides to make the most of what has been presented to him and give his new situation and life, something to be appreciated.

-Asher Denkyirah

Anonymous said...

One of the "opportunities" was actually concocted with the black residents of Lenox and Seventh Avenues (p. 277). It's not surprising that blacks were charged more for the same living spaces as white people. Though, forty to sixty percent more is a bit out of the range I would have guessed. While many had to multiply jobs, the interesting thing they did was actually rent out their homes and host events. Anywhere from simply making food for people to hosting gambling events, black people took advantage of what they had, even if it was still barely enough to keep them afloat.

-Que'rra

Jenee B. said...

The challenge that was most intriguing to me was that of Robert Joseph Pershing (pg.230-237). He was excited about starting a new life in California and once he arrived he believed he would find work quickly in either L.A. or Oakland. Despite being amazed by the sights in LA and work prospects from his former teacher, he assumed he would be able to find better in Oakland but was soon disappointed by the lack of opportunities in his specific profession. He also struggled with the amount of similarities Oakland had to back home. This challenge was intriguing to me because Robert struggled with what seemed acceptable to others (a shipyard job and familiar surroundings in Oakland) and what he really wanted (the excitement and mystery that LA held).

Trion T. said...

On pages 227-229, the opportunity I found intriguing was George Sterling and his voyage to New York. I like how fascinated he was about how there were no "whites only" signs about, and when he said "I was hoping to live as a man without fear of being lynched" because back in south, they did all they could to degrade a black man.

Kytela Medearis said...

The line used in the example is the most riveting to me. When Wilkerson wrote, "“What did it look like at the time, Chicago?” I asked her, half a life later. “It looked like Heaven to me then,” she said (226)", it struck a cord with me. For them, Chicago looked like a land of opportunity, the place where they would be able to start over and create a new lofe for themselves, a place where they could truly be free. When I was younger I was always so enamored whenever I went to Chicago, and I could not imagine what it was like for them when the migrated there, or to any major city really. It would have been such a stark contrasr to what they had grown up around but it was new and different.

Anonymous said...

The challenge of the migrants that stood out to me was the challenge of leaving things behind. Pages 238-241 discuss the traditions and loved ones that the migrants had to face. The left behind parents and even their children if they couldn't afford to take them along with them into the new world. With them they brought their heavy accents, white-fearing mannerisms, and culinary skills. They brought collard greens and oxtails with them to the North. The also brought their fear of Whites and their mannerisms that Jim Crow forced upon them. They readily greeted strangers with a thick Southern hospitality. They never gave up on their southern way of life nor their families back home. They oftentimes sent money to the family members back home. As quoted from the text "... 80% of the married migrants enter the half of the single ones were sending money home, most sending $5 per week and something in 10 or more dollars per week out of the weekly wages of $15 back then for unskilled labour is, as many of them would have been." They had to find new ways to exercise traditions that they had grew up following. They had to adjust to a foreign environment with no instruction manual on how to survive in the North. The migrants had to build a new life from the clothes on their backs and the few items they could carry with them on their journey.

McKayla W.

Breanna B. said...

I really enjoyed Robert's story around page 230. I love that he wanted more than those around him. There was no attitude of "settling," which is what it takes to make progressive as an individual and a minority as a whole

Kellsey H said...

The most intriguing migration occurred when George arrived in New York on page 228. It was certainly not what he was used to. It was entirely different than where he had came from, however, he appreciated it. He decided that he was going to make the best of it.

Ashya Ford said...

The most intriguing thing to me was the expectation and reality of the whole situation. Thinking about this migration, you would think these people would be excited to explore and take advantage of their new territory, yet the reality of the matter as stated on page 229, the people were just happy to be okay. They were satisfied with the fact that they can and would survive and didn't have to wonder how far they could make it.

Conradette King said...

I thought the most interesting migration story was the one found on page 228. I thought it was interesting how George thought about the city like how different it was from his hometown. I liked how he was optimistic that he would make the best of it even though it was so different and unfamiliar.

Roland Wooters said...

I think what stands out to me the most is how every aspect of black people lives were against them, while migrating during the Great Migration. On page 250 it states, "The Great Migration forced property owners to make a choice". This choice was either keep a place whites only or mark up the price for black people who wanted to live there. It was incredibly hard for many black people to afford the city housing due to low founds and lack of jobs. Everything was put against them.

Sydney J said...

I found the story of recruiters trying to find blacks to work for them in Beloit Wisconsin to be the most intriguing. (pg 243) Partially because back home I live so close to Beloit and didn't know it actually played a role in African American history particularly. I also find it interesting how they described how the recruiters would have to go undercover and find people quickly so they wouldn't be detected, arrested, or fined.

Sydney J.

Mercedes H said...

The opportunity that intrigued me the most was on pages 227-29 when he went to the territory of New York. When he arrived he was astonished at the fact that there was fairness to blacks unlike what he had lived through in the south. The fact that he could have the thoughts of living as a man "without fear of getting lynched at night' was an amazing breakthrough. This intrigued me because he was now able to gain some of that confidence and human right that he deserved.

Peyton D. said...

I found Robert's story on page 254-and 255 to be the most interesting because I will be in the healthcare field. The book explains that Robert, an African American doctor was refused by an African American patient. The patient bluntly stated, " I told you I wasn't gonna let no nigger examine me." Robert, who was new to California had never experienced such rejection from his own race. From his experience, Black patient only saw Black doctors and didn't have any choice about it. I hope that when I am a nurse, I am not rejected because of my race- especially another Black person.

Georgy N said...

The quote that really caught my attention in on p.265, "They are grouped on one side, or occupy alternate row; sometimes they are seated without regard to race; or they share seats with white pupils, a method used regularly by one teacher for punishing white pupils." The ending of that quote is what intrigued and upset me. The fact that the teacher used proximity to black students as a punishment for white students continued to show the kids from a young age that being black is negative and being white is ideal. This is something expected from the south, not the north. It is a common misconception that the north was not racist but this shows otherwise.

Tameah Foley said...

The challenge for migrants that I found most intriguing was the segregation among all races: whites wanting to work with blacks but not Mexicans, Mexicans wanting to work with whites but not blacks, etc. The constant competition for jobs amongst all races, including whites, was significant to me because I have always believed racism and segregation to be more common between blacks and whites, however, in Los Angeles, there was a sense of tolerance among the races but not enough to completely make peace.

Samiya Barber said...

On pages 232-233, it explained how some neighborhoods in California were still all white neighborhoods where some people still refused to sell a house to colored people. Also, some places in California had little need to recruit cheap black labor. I found this the most intriguing because even though there are colored neighborhoods, there were colored folks in white neighborhoods at the time.

gabriel said...

I could not wrap my head around the situations discussed on pages 253-257. This was when patients would refuse to go to physicians of color. “He realized he had entered a more complicated universe than he had imagined. Colored people in California didn’t have to go to colored doctors if they did not want to… to make matters worse for a colored doctor new in town, the very system that instilled privilege and superiority in southern whites also instilled a sense of inferiority in their colored workers,..” This was sad! After all the work it takes to get to the status of doctor for people of your own race to down play your ability is sad. We as a people have to stop being selfish and starting thinking about how we can stand together and support one another! United we stand, or divided we fall.
- Gabriel Msengi

Fiona H. said...

Robert's story was the most intriguing and the most memorable to me. Robert was not content with just being a black doctor, he wanted more for himself and wanted to do more for his family. He refused to settle and he wanted to prove people wrong.

Belainesh Nigeda said...

I also think Robert's story was the most memorable to me. I was surprised when reading that the black woman would not want to be examined by a black doctor, especially seeing that it wasn't every day that you saw a black physician. The author wrote," Robert experienced a by-product of integration that would affect nearly every black business and institution when the doors of segregation flung open--rejection...he would have to work doubly hard to win over his own people." I think this is partly relevant to black people in the medical field. I think we still have to work twice as hard to show our competency and intelligence to both white people and black people. I think that white physicians are sometimes seen as "better" than black physicians. However, what has changed now is that I am starting to see people promote black owned businesses and being more pro-black.

-B. Nigeda

Joi M said...

The most memorable story that I found was about Robert Foster and his moving to Los Angeles. The challenging part of his experience was the presence of many other minorities. This posed a problem because not only were blacks pitted against whites, they were also in competition with the other ethnic groups. They competed for many things, mainly access to jobs. This stood out to me because I feel that this goes on even today. I feel as though those groups in power like to make those in lower SES compete for the limited resources that are available. Thus this let them essentially eliminate each other. This is not a new concept, but we must recognize what is being done so we can take control.

Natalie Thompson said...

The opportunity that I found intriguing was on page 228 when George moved to New York. The way he described the landscape of New York compared to the south. "A concrete world with the horizon cut off by a stand of brownstones, to a land with no trees and where you couldn't see the sun". P. 229 " I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a manly way without the fear of getting lynched at night." At this moment I fell really excited for George. I was happy that he was getting away from the south and would be able to not have to live his life in fear.

JaLeah M . said...

I thought it was simply intriguing when George Starling says on pg 229, "I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a manly way without the fear of getting lynched at night." When George arrived in New York it was such a relief that he was over-relieved and he finally felt like he could accept and be proud of his masculinity without it being questioned or taken away by the whites who hung black men.

Jeremiah B. said...

I found page 229 most intriguing. When a man was asked if he saw himself as a part of a great tidal wave. He responded "No, I never considered that. ... I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a mainly way without the fear of getting lynched at night." People chose to migrate as a means of survival without realizing how influential they were.

Robert F said...

The idea of black doctors thriving in that day is powerful and intriguing. On pages 253-257, there were black doctors that would even deny other blacks. It was also interesting how diverse the country was as a whole. Every time you move to a new time zone, you essentially entered a different country in regards to rules and social norms.

Andrea R. said...

One challenge I found intriguing, at least to think about, was how difficult the decision was to make. The book mentions that the choices made during the Great Migration were cause for some of the greatest acts of family disruption and heartbreak among black Americans in the 20th century (pg.238). On one hand, there was a great need to escape the racial violence and prejudice of the South, but it came at the price of potentially losing family who did not want to make the journey up north. It wasn't just a matter of moving across the country and into a new area, but also crossing into an entirely different culture. A different lifestyle.

Kiara G. said...

The challenge that I found most intriguing was the fact that they had to start a new life, and face the obstacles of starting over with little to nothing, in a new place where people weren't very welcoming. On page 260 it states, "the migrants were walking into a headwind of resentment and suspicion. They had emerged from a cave of restrictions, into wide-open, anonymous hives that viewed them with bemusement and contempt. They had been trained to walk humbly, look down when spoken to. It would take time to learn the ways of the North." This paragraph was intriguing because not only did they have to leave a bad situation but also had to learn to live in a new foreign place where people were so different from them.


















Isaiah Blackburn said...

In the case of George Swanson Starling, he was able to find a job but he was overqualified for it. (246-7) On top of that, he made less money that his white coworkers for doing the same work. The ill-minded rationale of his boss justifying as being more than he made in the South still shows the old way of thinking, using African Americans for cheap labor. This idea of being "the lesser of two evils" that was presented by his boss did not fool Starling who still experienced the same discrimination he did in the South as he served his white clientele.

cassidy oliver said...

I chose to focus on Chicago especially since that's where I live. The most intriguing was how the tenements were described as "slave cabins stack on one another" (Wilkerson 269). She's speaking on the stacked projects, which had terrible conditions as well. They often lacked basic sanitary components. The fact the were labeled as slave cabins even a century after slavery ended. The question that arises is have the conditions changed much in modern times?

Naomi Thompson said...

I found it very interesting that even though when they got to their new cities, black Americans had trouble starting their businesses because of the opportunity. "...The very system that instilled privilege and superiority in southern whites also instilled a sense of inferiority in their colored workers, and when the latter got the chance to get all that had been denied them, some sought out whatever they were convinced was superior-and thus white" (pg. 255) So instead of supporting black businesses, some black people chose to seek white businesses that they believed were better. This is a problem we still see today, but on a more subconscious level as a society. "...A by-product of integration that would affect nearly every black business and institution when the doors of segregation flung open-rejection bu a black customer base for the wide-open world" (pg.255)

Quincy S said...

A challenge faced by someone who moved to a new city that stood out the most to me was on page 229, when George is describing his thoughts on his migration. He expresses that he just wanted to live as a man, without the fear of being lynched. This was memorable to me because the people who had to make the decision to leave were not doing so in the hope of some new, extravagant life; they simply wanted to live, without the fear of being hated and killed.

Barry F. said...

What I found most intriguing about this section was that blacks moving out of the south had pros and cons for moving out to LA, for example. On page 255, Wilkerson writes, "Colored people in California didn't have to go colored doctors if they didn't want to". This gave colored people a choice, which is something they didn't have back in th south. On the flip side, finding patients for black doctors that have moved from the south was very hard. On page 256, Wilkerson explained that black doctors who established themselves in California already had a clientel, which made it hard for new people moving into the area to get business.

Jessica Oranika said...

One of the experiences that I found most intriguing was George Sterlings experiences as he headed to New York on page 228. He talks about how he felt when there was no "whites only" signs and how much more comfortable he felt even with the injustices that were still around because he did not have to be worried about being lynched in the night.

Dakarai P. said...

The most intriguing thing to me was on page 231 where it talks about Dr. Beck's struggles of being a black doctor. He was yelled at, shot at, and even beaten for trying to help the blacks who worked on plantations. This was so interesting to me because even though helping others was a danger to his own life he continued those in need.

Maya Searcy said...

The movement that I saw as most interesting was on page 232 with the family that moved to Los Angeles. Los Angeles today is very diverse and open. There are a variety if cultures and people and religions. However back then nobody wantef to sell a house to a black family and the family had to move in durinf night and they were constantly harrassed be their white neighbors.

Emmanuel Ogunbode said...

In my opinion, the greatest move was when George migrated to New York (228). The difference in New York compared to where he came from was a huge deal to him. He was not used to the style, the big city life, or the people that came with the area. The best part was that he did something with his opportunity, he didn't just squander it away.

Kiana S said...

What I found to be crazy and totally unfair is that even if you overcome all of the obstacles to get to your desired destination, you still could be stuck homeless if you want to move into a "whites only" community. People were hostile and rude to black people who were just wanting to have a nice place to live (232).

Lindsey McCall said...

What I found most intriguing was when George moved to another city and he was so open to change and opportunity. He had a fairly optimistic view on everything.

Ashley Murray said...

“What did it look like at the time, Chicago?” I asked her, half a life later.
“It looked like Heaven to me then,” she said. (226).I wanted to comment on this quote first because I am from Chicago and it was interesting seeing what the characters saw Chicago as and how much times have changed now. It looked like heaven to Isabel Wilkerson but now it is the total opposite. It interests me to know how she and other blacks would think about the violence and crime in Chicago specifically in the African American community.

Rodrick Robins said...

I found the attacking of colored people and people who were associated with them as the most intriguing issue. it was so...gruesome and barbaric. page 248