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Ep 152 A Conversation With Writer Isabel Wilkerson


In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded her the National Humanities Medal for "championing the stories of an unsung history." A conversation with Isabel Wilkerson.

Isabel Wilkerson, an esteemed American journalist and author, visited the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy recently to meet with students and present the 2024 Terry Sanford Lecture. Born in Washington, D.C., and a graduate of Howard University, Wilkerson’s career in journalism included notable positions at The New York Times, recognized with the Pulitzer Prize in 1994, becoming the first woman of African-American heritage to win the award in journalism.

Her debut book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration,” garnered widespread acclaim for its exploration of the mass migration of African Americans from the South to the North and West. This seminal work earned her numerous awards and established her as a leading voice on social justice in America.

In her latest book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” Wilkerson delves into the concept of caste systems and their enduring influence on American society. Drawing parallels between the caste systems of India, Nazi Germany, and the United States, the book offers profound insights into the structural inequalities and systemic injustices that persist in contemporary America. She talks with Judith Kelley, dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.