Join Mónica Novoa, human rights and racial justice advocate, for a close reading and discussion of Isabel Wilkerson’s monumental book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.
Based on over 1200 interviews, the book chronicles the history and experiences of black families who were part of the six million African Americans who moved from the rural South to cities in the Midwest, West, and Northeast, including New York City, between 1915-1970.
We will highlight the New York stories in Wilkerson’s book, and bring in original research, stories and images of this history specific to Brooklyn. We will also explore the experiences of foreign-born black people who come to New York from Africa and the Caribbean. Prithi Kanakamedala, historian for the public history project In Pursuit of Freedom, will give a guest lecture featuring original research on the history of abolitionism and black diaspora in Brooklyn. Christina Greer, author Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, will give a guest talk on the diverse racial and ethnic identities and political dynamics between native-born black people and African and Afro-Caribbean migrants in New York.
Together we will explore first person narratives of African Americans in the book, and discuss the historical arc of immigration as it relates to movement of people of color to dense city centers like Brooklyn. You will also hear about contemporary migration and organizing of black migrants throughout New York City from local organizers.
Mónica will facilitate readings in five easy, doable sections.
Some questions explored in this reading group include:
- How is this intertwining of scholarly history with biographies of three individuals successful in communicating the ways race and racism function in this country?
- What are the possibilities for multi-ethnic alliance building and broadened multiracial solidarity and politics?
- How would our collective understanding of present-day issues and politics be different if this vital history was more widely discussed in grade school?
- From an oral history perspective, what is the benefit of documenting migrant stories for the future?
Class will be book-ended with yummy local cuisine of the Black and African diaspora.
5 workshop sessions: Thursdays, October 10th-November 14th, 2013.
There will be no class on October 31st, to accommodate parents with trick-or-treaters.
6:30PM – 8:30PM
$100 sliding scale fee. (The cost of this workshop is on a sliding scale. The recommended fee is $100-$350. No one will be excluded due to lack of funds).
Books are included in the class fee.
Workshop is limited to 15 participants.
Mónica Novoa currently works with Families for Freedom, a New York-based multi-ethnic human rights organization by and for families facing and fighting deportation. Most recently she was a director at Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration. Previously she was at the Applied Research Center (ARC), a national racial justice organization. At ARC she coordinated the groundbreaking Drop the I-Word public education campaign, a platform for people nationwide to drop the dehumanizing, racist slur “illegals," and to ask that the media do the same. Ms. Novoa is a seasoned public education expert, having implemented campaigns across issues, including immigration, preventive healthcare, technology and early literacy. She has a degree in English Literature from California State University at Northridge, where she also helped establish both the nation’s first Central American Studies Program and research institute. Ms. Novoa lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn. She tweets @MoniNovoa.
Christina Greer, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Fordham University and author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration and the Pursuit of the American Dream.