The Warmth of Other Suns in Our Refectory

“There is no mistaking what is going on ; it is a regular exodus.  It is without head, tail, or leadership.  It’s greatest factor is momentum, and this is increasing despite amazing efforts on the part of white southerners to stop it.  People are leaving their homes and everything about them, under cover of night, as though they were going on a day’s journey – leaving forever.”  So reported the Cleveland Advocate on April 28, 1917.  “The Great Migration” of black citizens, about six million people between 1915 and 1970, fleeing the “Jim Crow” south to make new lives in the north and western states.  Isabel Wilkerson in the Pulitzer Prize winning “The Warmth of Other suns”, is educating the monks concerning the gritty details of life in the south for blacks prior to the civil rights movement.  This is a tough read and some graphic descriptions of violence were not read in the monastic refectory.  But we have heard enough to have formed a completely new appreciation of the courage, imagination, and faith of millions of migrants stirred by the most elemental call to give expression to their God-given dignity, as well as a desire to develop their talents.  Isabel Wilkerson is the first black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism.