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Pulitzer-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson to discuss black migration from the South, and attend benefit reception for Catharine St. Center April 2, 2012.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – In her breakthrough 2010 book The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson documented the millions of African-Americans who left the U.S. South between 1915 and 1970 looking for a better life in northern and western cities. Wilkerson will discuss the research that led to The Warmth of Other Suns, a book the New York Times hailed as “a landmark piece of nonfiction,” on Monday, April 2, at 7:00 pm in the Villard Room of Main Building. This lecture is free and open to the public.

Earlier in the day, from 5:00-6:30 at the Vassar College Alumnae House, the college will host a reception with Isabel Wilkerson to benefit Poughkeepsie’s Catharine Street Community Center. Voluntary contributions will be welcomed.

More about The Warmth of Other Suns and Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson brought to life a largely underreported story in The Warmth of Other Suns, drawing on over 1,200 interviews and extensive archival research to ultimately focus on three individuals who made the journey. Her work was both a New York Times bestseller and widely praised, with accolades ranging from more than thirty Best Book of the Year lists to the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Hillman Book Prize, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, and the NAACP Image Award for best literary debut.

Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her work as Chicago Bureau Chief of the
New York Times, making her the first African American woman in American journalism to win a Pulitzer as well as the first African American to win the Pulitzer for individual reporting. Wilkerson has also won the George Polk Award and the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and the National Association of Black Journalists named her Journalist of the Year.

Wilkerson is currently Professor of Journalism and Director of Narrative Nonfiction at the Boston University College of Communication, and she was earlier the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, the James M. Cox, Jr. Professor at Emory University, and the Kreeger-Wolf endowed lecturer at Northwestern University. She speaks widely about migration, social justice, urban affairs, and twentieth-century history, and has appeared on such prominent national television and radio programs as
60 Minutes, Charlie Rose, Fresh Air, and the NBC Nightly News.

About the Catharine Street Community Center

The Catharine Street Community Center was established in 1922 to serve individuals, families, and children in the City of Poughkeepsie. Among its many services the center houses a variety of after-school and summer enrichment youth programs, supports families facing economic challenges, and provides HIV/AIDS medical case management

Primary sponsorship of these events is provided by the Vassar College Office of the Dean of the Faculty, in conjunction with the academic programs in American Culture, Africana Studies, and Women’s Studies, and the history, English, sociology, and psychology departments.

Vassar College strives to make its events, performances, and facilities accessible to all. Individuals with disabilities requiring special accommodations must contact the Office of Campus Activities at least 48 hours in advance of an event, Mondays-Fridays, at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space/and or assistance may not be available. For detailed information about accessibility to specific campus facilities, search for “campus accessibility information” on the Vassar homepage (

Vassar College is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at 
http://www.vassar.edu/directions. The Vassar College Alumnae House is located at 161 College Avenue in Poughkeepsie, and directions can be found at http://alumnaehouse.vassar.edu/maps/index.html

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Wednesday, March 21, 2012