The Warmth of Other Suns: A panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Richard Pierce


Location: Notre Dame Center for Arts & Culture, 1045 W. Washington Street, South Bend


Local book clubs and individuals are encouraged to join us for a discussion of the book The Warmth of Other Suns.  Written by Puliter Prize-winning author Isabel Wilerson, this book chronicles the often untold stories of African  Americans who fled the South for northern and western cities.  Nearly six million people made a mass exodus from southern states between 1915 and 1970 in order to flee the tragedies of the Jim Crowe system.  This book focuses on the true stories of three families.

Dr. Pierce is an associate professor of History at the University of Notre Dame.  Currently, Pierce is researching the processes by which African American families and institutions taught Jim Crow to their children in the United States during the time period 1895-1965. The resulting volume, tentatively titled, Teaching Jim Crow, will examine the methods and strategies African Americans employed to preserve self-esteem within a system designed to dehumanize. He is presently seeking interviews with parents, teachers, and community leaders who reared children during the Jim Crow segregation era to enrich his research.

Dr. Pierce's first manuscript, Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970, was published by Indiana University Press. He was a consultant for the “Faith and Community Initiative” of the Project on Religion and Urban Culture” at POLIS Research Center and For Gold and Glory, an award-winning documentary that depicted the African American automobile racing league of the 1920s. He has published articles and essays that have appeared in the Journal of Urban History, The State of Indiana history 2000, Robert Taylor, ed., Chicago Tribune, and National Public Radio. Most recently, his essay, “In Pursuit of Civil Discourse in the Academy”, was featured in Diverse Magazine, formerly known as Black Issues in Higher Education.

There will be a reception after the panel discussion.


This event, co-sponsored by Saint Mary's College and the University of Notre Dame, is a part of the Great Migration Series, a subset of programs in the Africana World initiative. This series of events focuses on the migration of African Americans from the south to the north from 1915 – 1970. Please feel free to check out the other events that are a part of this series!