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Pulitzer Prize-winning author to kick off UNI's Reaching for Higher Ground Series

August 9, 2012

Steven Carignan, associate dean of special programs and executive director of GBPAC, 319-273-3665,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,


CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and New York Times' bestseller, Isabel Wilkerson, will kick off the University of Northern Iowa Reaching for Higher Ground series at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Wilkerson will discuss the topic of migration and its impact on America as detailed in her novel, "The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration."

The topic for this year's Reaching for Higher Ground is "The Search for An American Dream," including issues such as social justice, education and global economic changes.

Reaching for Higher Ground aims to encourage civil discourse and diverse perspectives. The project will explore the meanings of the "American Dream" and how it's reflected in the campus community. Freshmen in UNI's Cornerstone course will read Wilkerson's novel and discuss the impact of historical events to our society today.

"The Warmth of Other Suns" details the decades-long history of the Great Migration of almost six million African-Americans from the South to northern and western cities in search of a better life. The book tells the story of three African-Americans who migrated from the South to the North. Wilkerson interviewed more than 1,200 individuals to create a complete picture of the migration and its effect the U.S. The book won numerous literary awards including the NAACP Image Award for best literary debut.

For more information about Reaching for Higher Ground, visit