A Memoir

    • 4.2 • 30 Ratings
    • $14.99
    • $14.99

Publisher Description

NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE WINNER • NATIONAL BESTSELLER • An extraordinary look at privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America by the renowned Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic

Jefferson takes us into an insular and discerning society: “I call it Negroland,” she writes, “because I still find ‘Negro’ a word of wonders, glorious and terrible.”
Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. Negroland’s pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South.
It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs—a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and “the masses of Negros,” and where the motto was “Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment.”
Jefferson brilliantly charts the twists and turns of a life informed by psychological and moral contradictions, while reckoning with the strictures and demands of Negroland at crucial historical moments—the civil rights movement, the dawn of feminism, the falsehood of post-racial America.

Biographies & Memoirs
September 8
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Penguin Random House LLC

Customer Reviews

WisdomSeed ,

What a wonderful adventure that was.

I grew up on the periphery of the times, place and class of Ms. Jefferson, but we shared similar social mores. It was kind of peculiar to see them in print, as there are very few black experiences I am aware of that were so revealing about that aspect of our community. It is even more rare for me to see a black woman writer give such beautiful word to both the rose and the thorns of life, hers or anyone elses.

It is with the rarely blinking eye of a critic, that she looks at her life and community. I feel at once proud and a bit ashamed because there is so much here that explains my family and community, that I so easily identify with someone we’d refer to not as bourgeois, but the less palpable ‘sididitty’, a term used to unseat those who we considered to look down on us, when in truth we were looking up to them.

Over the years, well meaning friends of all races have pushed books and stories in my face to show that they understand my particular plight of being black and from Chicago’s South Side, finally I have something to push back at them, that better explains my ‘plight' to them. That ‘third race’ is one that is finally coming to the fore in America. Ms. Jefferson gives us a good history of the ‘not-poor’ black person, who didn’t come by their class as matter of crime or athletic endeavor.

Whether you’re just curious or looking to serioulsy round out your idea of who black people are, I would reccommend that you read this book. Or if your just looking for a good read, this book fills the bill. Her use of language is top notch, filled with the love of great writing. Great writing. And a wonderful adventure.

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