So you look at the African American population of all of the cities in the North, Midwest, and West are a result of this. And there were places – in Milwaukee, for example – that said no African Americans — many places actually said African Americans would not be hired. So, I want to read a little bit of another moment for me — and this brings us to our moment — another moment in the book that was just heartbreaking. And it’s when you first met Ida Mae in 1996 in Chicago. She is sitting in a cotton housedress on a baby blue, plastic-covered easy chair by the window. They arrived consigned to neighborhoods in which — that were declining, but had been declining from the moment they arrived.
Go to the doctor and they won’t begin to treat you without taking your history — and not just yours, but that of your parents and grandparents before you.
It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it. And this book is such a — it embodies this paradox that writers know, that storytellers know, that radio actually knows, that the more particular you can get with your story, the more universally it can be received, that others can join their life and their imagination with what you have to share.
This is the means that they feel they must take in order to find freedom wherever they can find it. And there were these moments for me in the book that were just so human, that were so relatable, that made all these other horrors come home.
I often say that the book is viewed as being a book about the Great Migration, and over time, as I’ve talked about it over these years, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about migration.
The Great Migration is not about migration, and really, probably no migration is about migration.
And so they would then get mortgages on the second market — secondary market which meant they were paying exorbitant rates. And so this is all setting in motion all of these forces that were making it even more difficult for people to succeed in these big places, the cities of refuge for the people of the Great Migration. TIPPETT: So, between the time you first published the book in 2010 and today, these have been years in which we have been forced to confront the fact that, with all the laws that were passed and with the progress that was made, there’s so much unfinished business, and in fact, that all the progress wasn’t there. Whatever you’re ignoring will be there to be reckoned with until you reckon with it.