Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson, author of The Warmth of Other Suns and Caste, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Chicago’s 31st annual commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The virtual event, which will begin at 6 p.m. on Jan. 12, will also include a conversation between Wilkerson and Regina Dixon-Reeves, UChicago assistant provost. It will be streamed live on the University’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
“We are excited to welcome Isabel Wilkerson to the University of Chicago. Like Dr. King, Ms. Wilkerson challenges each of us to summon the moral courage to act when we see another person being treated unfairly and to work collectively to dismantle the systems of oppression we find ourselves in,” said Dixon-Reeves, who provides leadership for diversity and inclusion programs, faculty development initiatives and strategic planning at the University.
A leading figure in narrative nonfiction and the first Black woman to win a Pulitzer Prize in journalism, Wilkerson is a renowned interpreter of the human condition. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2015, five years after the publication of The Warmth of Other Suns. An award-winning historical study of the Great Migration, the book drew from 15 years of interviews with more than 1,200 people.
Her latest bestselling work, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, is a portrait of systemic inequality that connects the oppression of Black Americans to caste systems in India and Nazi Germany. The New York Times described it as “an instant American classic,” while Oprah Winfrey said it can show us a way to “a world in which all are truly equal and free.”