Negroland: A Memoir (Hardcover)
Winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography
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At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac here is a deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture through the prism of the author's rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.
Born in upper-crust black Chicago her father was for years head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation's oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite Margo Jefferson has spent most of her life among (call them what you will) the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society. Since the nineteenth century they have stood apart, these inhabitants of Negroland, a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.
Reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the fallacy of postracial America Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions. Aware as it is of heart-wrenching despair and depression, this book is a triumphant paean to the grace of perseverance.
(With 8 pages of black-and-white photographs.)
About the Author
The winner of a Pulitzer Prize for criticism, MARGO JEFFERSON was for years a theater and book critic for Newsweek and The New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York magazine, and The New Republic. She is the author of On Michael Jackson and is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts.