African slavery in the Americas has left indelible marks on the geographical, political, economic, social and cultural landscapes of the Americas. An important part of that indelibility is marronage that involved both flight from slavery and the establishment of free communities.
This book is about the struggles of enslaved Africans in the Americas who achieved freedom through flight and the establishment of Maroon communities in the face of overwhelming military odds on the part of the slaveholders. Incontestably, Maroon communities constituted the first independent polities from European colonial rule in the hemisphere, even if the colonial states did not accord them legal recognition. They had their own independent political, economic and social structures, and occupied definitive land spaces that they often contested with the colonial state and won. This study demonstrates how they utilized the natural landscape and modified it to guard their freedom, and also indicates the dangers that complacency, authoritarianism and militarism posed to that freedom.
Thompson reassesses several interpretations that have informed the discourse on marronage. While useful monographs exist on the subject, no study to date has attempted to provide the pan-American scope that is critical to understanding the role of marronage in the struggle of the hemisphere's enslaved population for freedom and dignity. Historians, political scientists, sociologists, ethnographers, linguists, archaeologists and other scholars specializing on the Americas or in comparative studies will find this work useful. The text is written in a way that makes it interesting and useful to students at the secondary and tertiary levels, and to the public at large. An earlier version of this manuscript received the Prizes of Caribbean Thought 2003-2004, Political Thought Category, Government of Quintano Roo, Mexico. ... amazon.com/Flight-Freedom-Runaways-Americas-Caribbean/dp/9766401802
Isabel Wilkerson, whose parents were part of the Great Migration, details the mass exodus of African-Americans in her new book, The Warmth of Other Suns. The book weaves together three narratives of ordinary people — a sharecropper's wife, a surgeon and a farm worker — making their way from the South to an uncertain future up North.
During her research for the book, Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,000 people who made the migration from the South to Northern and Western cities. Interestingly, many of the people who Wilkerson encountered — who moved during the time period of 1915 to 1970 — had no idea that they were even part of the Great Migration.
"Sometimes they would even say, 'Well, I migrated from Texas to Los Angeles in 1947, would that mean that I was part of it?' And that would mean they were right smack in the middle of it. But they didn't see themselves as that, partly because these decisions were individual personal decisions," she explains. "And in some ways, to me, that's one of the inspiring and powerful things about the Great Migration itself. There was no leader, there was no one person who set the date who said, 'On this date, people will leave the South.' They left on their own accord for as many reasons as there are people who left. They made a choice that they were not going to live under the system into which they were born anymore and in some ways, it was the first step that the nation's servant class ever took without asking."
Isabel Wilkerson won the Pulitzer Prize in 1994 for her coverage as the Chicago bureau chief of The New York Times. She is a professor in the College of Communications at Boston University and has received the George S. Polk Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
Read More after initial story posted above...
Interview Highlights On the Jim Crow laws in the South
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson devoted 15 years to the research and writing of The Warmth of Other Suns. She interviewed more than 1,200 people, unearthed archival works and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the epic story of the Great Migration, one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century and one of the largest migrations in American history.
The book was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors, and made national news when President Obama chose WARMTH for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times named The Warmth of Other Suns 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, 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. She has appeared on national programs such as CBS' "60 Minutes," NPR's "Fresh Air" and PBS' "NewsHour" and "Charlie Rose Show." She had taught at Princeton University, Emory University and Boston University and has spoken at more than 100 universities in the United States and in Europe.
Learn more about Isabel Wilkerson