Descripción de editorial
Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by ELLE, Buzzfeed, Esquire, Bitch Media, Good Housekeeping, Electric Literature, Parade and BookRiot
“One of the smartest young writers of her generation.”—Book Riot
From the acclaimed cultural critic and New York Times bestselling author of This Will Be My Undoing—a writer whom Roxane Gay has hailed as “a force to be reckoned with”—comes this powerful story of her journey to understand her northern and southern roots, the Great Migration, and the displacement of black people across America.
Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors’ journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California.
Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family’s oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way—the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history.
Incisive and illuminating, Wandering in Strange Lands is a timely and enthralling look at America’s past and present, one family’s legacy, and a young black woman’s life, filtered through her sharp and curious eyes.
Essayist Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing) sets her family history against the backdrop of the Great Migration the period from 1910 to 1970 when six million blacks left the South for other parts of the country in this forthright and informative account. Contrasting her father's frequent visits to his childhood home in Fayetteville, N.C., with her mother's lack of knowledge about her family roots, Jerkins sets out to fill in the "blank spaces and missing pieces" of her identity. Visiting Georgia and South Carolina, she documents the systematic erasure of Gullah Geechee culture and reveals her maternal great-grandfather's escape from two different lynch mobs. Her paternal great-grandfather's roots in Louisiana Creole country send Jerkins to Natchitoches Parish, where she wrestles with her preconceptions about skin color and relates the story of the Metoyer family, once the wealthiest "free people of color" in America. In Oklahoma, she investigates links between African-Americans and Native Americans; in L.A., she juxtaposes the myth of California in the black community with the reality of white flight and gang violence. Jerkins's careful research and revelatory conversations with historians, activists, and genealogists result in a disturbing yet ultimately empowering chronicle of the African-American experience. Readers will be moved by this brave and inquisitive book.