ATLANTA—Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson will deliver the keynote speech at the seventh annual Founders Lecture, hosted by the Honors College at Georgia State University on Oct. 28.
Wilkerson’s speech, titled “The Great Migration: The Power of a Single Decision,” will take place in the Centennial Hall Auditorium at 6:30 p.m.
Wilkerson, who also has received a National Humanities Medal, is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Wilkerson spent 15 years working on the book, interviewing more than 1,200 people to tell one of the most underreported stories of the 20th century, that of The Great Migration.
The Great Migration refers to a period in American history between the early and mid-1900s during which millions of African Americans moved north and west from the rural South.
“We are honored to have a speaker with Ms. Wilkerson’s stature,” Honors College dean Larry Berman said. “She will expose to our students the craft of research through oral histories and archives and impress upon them the endurance and dedication a project like ‘Warmth’ requires.”
In addition to the National Book Critics Circle Award, her book won the Heartland Prize for Nonfiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Award for Nonfiction, the Lynton History Prize from Harvard and Columbia universities, and the Stephen Ambrose Oral History Prize, and was shortlisted for the Pen-Galbraith Literary Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
“The Warmth of Other Suns” was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, including The New York Times’ 10 Best Books of the Year, Amazon’s 5 Best Books of the Year and Best of the Year lists in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, among others. It made national news when President Barack Obama chose the book for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times Magazine named “Warmth” to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time.
Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times in 1994, making her the first black woman in the history of American journalism to win a Pulitzer Prize and the first African American to win for individual reporting.
Previous Founders Lecture keynote speakers include Civil Rights icon James Meredith, Atlanta radio talk show host and attorney Mo Ivory and Daniel Ellsberg, an economist and former U.S. military analyst who released the Pentagon Papers.
This year’s lecture will honor Risa Palm, professor of geosciences and provost from 2009 to 2019. Palm was an ardent supporter of the Honors College during her tenure as provost, Berman said.
The lecture is free and open to all. A book signing will follow the lecture.