The Witte Lectures 2017

Friday & Saturday, April 28-29

Isabel Wilkerson
The Great Migration and Immigration

Between 1915 and 1970, more than 6 million African-Americans moved out of the South to cities across the Northeast, Midwest and West in what later became known as “The Great Migration.”  As immigration has become a more urgent topic in the U.S. and around the world, Isabel Wilkerson will explore how the Great Migration and immigration today resemble each other, where they intersect and how they differ.

What can we learn from the cautionary tale of six million Americans fleeing repression within the borders of their own country? In this compelling lecture, Isabel Wilkerson outlines why “The Great Migration” is ultimately the story of millions of Americans who became immigrants in their own country, all in an effort to be recognized as citizens.

 "[The Great Migration] had such an effect on almost every aspect of our lives — from the music that we listen to and the politics of our country to the ways the cities even look and feel, even today," says Isabel Wilkerson. "The suburbanization and the ghettos that were created as a result of the limits of where [African-Americans] could live in the North [still exist today.] And ... the South was forced to change, in part because they were losing such a large part of their workforce through the Great Migration."

More about Isabel Wilkerson
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 Warmth of Other Suns 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 the book for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times included The Warmth of Other Suns in its list of the best nonfiction books of all time.

Absolutely no refunds or exchanges on any tickets. 



  • $50 / $45* per person, per lecture
  • $20 Teachers & students
  • 6:30pm Wine & music reception
  • 7:00pm Lecture, Q&A
  • 8:15pm Book signing, dessert & coffee


  • $35 / $30* per person, per lecture
  • $20 Teachers & students
  • 2:00pm Lecture, Q&A
  • 3:15pm Book signing, dessert & coffee

* Library Foundation members at Book Worm level ($50) or higher receive a $5 discount on each ticket.

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The Witte Lectures Committee
Jason Sherr, Chair
Lisa Edwards
Connie Glenn
Janet Hadley
Diane Hafer
Gordon McAlpine
Natasha Palmaer
Ellen Shockro, Ph.D
Jene Witte
Lizanne Witte