Isabel Wilkerson: Where is The Caste Author Now?

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The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Isabel Wilkerson has been in the mainstream consciousness for some time now, especially since her 2010 literary debut with the nonfiction book ‘The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.’ Furthermore, she cemented a spot among American classics with her 2020 book ‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,’ which the New York Times dubbed the “keynote nonfiction book of the American century.” Consequently, a bigger spotlight was cast on the author through Ava DuVernay’s film, ‘Origin,’ which presents a dramatized account of Wilkerson’s journey in penning her second book. As such, the film allows fans a peek into the author’s life and her work showcasing ‘Caste’s’ career-defining impact.

Texas’ Ban on Isabel Wilkerson’s Work and Its Eventual Return

‘Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,’ Isabel Wilkerson’s second nonfiction undertaking, remains her latest literary endeavor to date. The book was released to notable critical acclaim, peaking at number 1 on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list and attracting the attention of the film industry. ‘Caste’ highlights the thread of hierarchical oppression and discrimination that binds several social atrocities across the world— from America’s enslavement of African American people and the Jewish people’s genocide in the Holocaust to the mistreatment of India’s Dalit population.

Predictably, the work’s substantial socio-political subject matter also brought some unfavorable scrutiny from people who shared disagreeable opinions. Consequently, during the rise in censorship attempts across the country in 2023, a Texas County banned ‘Caste,’ among several other titles. “I was saddened but not surprised,” Wilkerson told Oprah Daily in the same year. “These bans only affirm the forewarnings in the [‘Caste’] book. We’re in a period of backlash and retrenchment, which the book attests to and foreshadows. The only thing I can do is to keep pressing forward in my work, knowing that we can’t run from history and that the truth will win out in the end.”

Ultimately, a federal judge ordered the book’s return to Texan library shelves, asserting the ban an infringement on First Amendment rights to information. In response, the county commissioners considered non-compliance by shutting down the library system entirely. “Who would have thought that authors, teachers, and librarians would be on the front lines of democracy,” the author said in a conversation with Emory University.

Isabel Wilkerson is Often on the Road For Lectures and Speeches

Isabel Wilkerson’s influence as an author, journalist, and prolific scholar has only grown in the years since her latest book’s release. Thus, in the aftermath, Wilkerson has found herself consistently traveling across various institutions to share her learnings on different topics, with a focus on America’s racial issues. The author’s tour seems to have been underway in full force since late 2023 when she delivered the commencement address at Occidental College and Chicagoland’s Northwestern University. Towards the end of the year, she also spoke at Richmond Forum in Virginia. Moreover, the year presented other exciting opportunities for the author as she appeared on shows like ‘The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell’ and ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.’

Consequently, Wilkerson continues to share her knowledge, utilizing her growing influence to shed importance on prevalent socio-political conversations. In an Instagram post, she noted the significance of the instance, writing, “I have been on the road lecturing virtually nonstop the last few months, and one of the great, bittersweet, existential joys of my life was returning to the land of my forefathers, in the haunted capital of the former Confederacy, in the birthplace of American slavery.” Additionally, in 2024, she also visited several institutions, such as New York’s Hofstra University and Wasington’s Howard University, where she was the keynote speaker for different events.

Furthermore, earlier in February, Wilkerson was an inductee to Howard’s inaugural Hilltop Hall of Fame as a former member of the Hilltop student newspaper herself. Likewise, she also gave the 2024 Terry Sanford Lecture at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. In September of this year, she will be appearing at an event for Homestead Community Land Trust. The event will be held in support of the brand’s advocation for housing justice in King County in an effort ensure permanently affordable housing. As such, the author will be engaging in discussions about the systemic disparity in homeownership.

Isabel Wilkerson is a Staunch Advocate For Socio-Political Change

Given the context of her work, Isabel Wilkerson maintains crucial relevance in socio-political activism circles. Therefore, the author’s various social media channels, Instagram, Facebook, and X (formerly known as Twitter), possess well-researched information and opinions on various social issues. Wilkerson shares posts about a variety of things, be it tragic incidents across the nation involving police violence or the cultural erasure of minority voices.

For 2024’s Black History Month, Wilkerson shared a number of posts revolving around several topics, including her own journey as an author and the history of Black students in America over different periods of time. Likewise, she shares her opinions, backed by historical context, on relevant social issues as they arise in the news. Some of these issues include responses to controversial takes on Jim Crow and birth control laws. Consequently, the author has curated a significant educational space on the internet for people who may find themselves motivated to join socio-political conversations.

Isabel Wilkerson Doesn’t Prefer Unveiling Details of Her Personal Life

While Isabel Wilkerson lives an eventful life and consistently remains in the public eye, she doesn’t shed the same spotlight on her personal life as she does on her work. Consequently, limited information about the author outside of her professional career is available. Since Wilkerson sat down with filmmaker Ava DuVernay for discussions surrounding her life during Origin’s development, fans can get an idea of her past through the film. Yet, it’s pertinent to remember that DuVernay’s work retains a sense of fictionalized dramatization.

Since Wilkerson prefers sharing only her professional milestones on her social media, her private life remains under wraps. Thus, the public only knows that the author has been married twice. She has remained single after the passing of Brett Kelly Hamilton, her second husband in 2015. The author also has two kids, Ansley and Rafe, both of whom retain similar public anonymity.

Read More: Brett Hamilton: How Did Isabel Wilkerson’s Husband Die?