Morgan Jerkins with Angie Cruz

Morgan Jerkins with Angie Cruz

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event Location: 

This event will take place virtually on Zoom and is free to attend, but registration is required. Click the button above to register.

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.

Morgan Jerkins is the author of the New York Times bestseller, This Will Be My Undoing, and the Senior Editor at ZORA. A visiting professor at Columbia University, Jerkins’s short form work has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, ELLE, Esquire, and The Guardian, among many others. She is based in Harlem.

Moderator Angie Cruz is a novelist and editor. Her novel, Dominicana was the inaugural book pick for GMA book club and was shortlisted for The Women’s Prize. Cruz is the author of two other novels, Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee. She’s published shorter works in The Paris Review, VQR, Callaloo, Gulf Coast and other journals, and she’s the founder and Editor-in-chief of the award winning literary journal, Aster(ix). An Associate professor at University of Pittsburgh, she splits her time between Pittsburgh. New York, and Turin.