A review by brettpet
Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins


Wandering in Strange Lands was a tough read for me. On one hand, it's a well-researched deep dive into black history and the long term impact of the Great Migration, filled with poignant interviews and first-hand accounts of racial discrimination. On the other, it feels like I'm reading someone's PHD thesis. It's great that Morgan Jerkins was so passionate about this topic and was able to craft a critically-acclaimed and unique research perspective, but I had trouble keeping interest. The first section on Georgia and the Gullah-Geechee people of South Carolina were an interesting start to the book, but my desire to finish plummeted during the second section on Louisiana. I just didn't find much interesting about the section aside from Jerkins' interview with Kelly Clayton and their discussion on skin color/being white passing. The sections on Oklahoma and California were the most attention-grabbing for me, as I thought the research around indigenous land rights was well-paced and within my field of interest. The latter chapter, particularly the interview with Regina, was interesting but a bit brief compares to the first two parts. Overall, I think this book is well written but a bit over-structured and rigid to read. I would only recommend it if you're extremely interested in the Great Migration or land rights issues.