I’m really glad I did the audio version for this one, because I’m not sure my raccoon brain (shiny things only!) would have had the patience to sit through it otherwise, and it’s worth sitting through. Robin Miles is, as always, a great narrator. This book wasn’t quite what I was expecting, either. I had actually never learned about the Great Migration in all my many (many) years of school, which is not really surprising, but is disheartening, so I was excited to get into this, and it was very good, but it also wasn’t quite what I wanted, which is why I didn’t end up giving it five stars.
I was expecting more of a big picture overview of the historical trends, causes, and outcomes of the Great Migration using oral history interviews as her primary sources, and while there was some of that, what this book really was was a biography of three specific people who migrated from three different parts of the south, to three different places, at three different times in history. The vast majority of the book is just their life stories. This was really just not as immediately interesting to me as the alternative, although the book is very effective. Probably more effective than what I was expecting, to be honest, because the grounding of the historical events in specific people’s lives makes them hit harder and is thus more memorable. I just really like the other stuff, though! That is totally personal preference.
This book is most definitely worth checking out just for the way it sheds light on the Great Migration when it had previously been ignored or misconstrued (she explains that (white) historians had attributed it to other factors than racism and Jim Crow).