Without the Great Migration, There Would Be No Motown

By WGBH News

Feb. 14, 2012


Veteran entertainer Smokey Robinson expresses his surprises and delight midway through his performance Friday, June 15, 1981 at Los Angeles Greek Theatre, after he was joined by friend and fellow entertainer Berry Gordy, president and founder of Motown Records. (AP Photo/Adlen)

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and Boston University professor Isabel Wilkerson interviewed more than 1200 people to discuss The Great Migration--the epic 20th century flight of millions of southern black, US citizens who sought a better life in northern cities like Chicago and Detroit.

In this excerpt from an hour-long discussion of her book at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, captured by the WGBH Forum Network, Wilkerson points out how much of America's musical legacy is due to some musicians' families making that trek with the hope of giving their kids more opportunities.

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