On Wednesday, September 16th, 2015, we welcomed Margo Jefferson, author of the new book, Negroland: A Memoir, her deeply felt meditation on race, sex, and American culture, as seen through the prism of her rarefied upbringing and education among a black elite concerned with distancing itself from whites and the black generality while tirelessly measuring itself against both.  Jefferson was joined in conversation by Karen Hunter, Distinguished Professor of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College.

Jefferson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in criticism, spoke about her childhood in upper-crust black Chicago — her father was head of pediatrics at Provident, at the time the nation’s oldest black hospital; her mother was a socialite, as well as her life among “the colored aristocracy, the colored elite, the blue-vein society.” Jefferson discussed the way in which these inhabitants of Negroland, have stood apart since the 19th century, “a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty.”

Hilton Als called Negroland a “masterpiece—a phenomenal study-cum-memoir about the black bourgeoisie… Jefferson has lived and worked like the great reporter she is, traversing a little-known or -understood landscape peopled by blacks and whites, dreamers and naysayers, the privileged and the strivers who make up the mosaic known as America.”

Margo Jefferson – “Negroland: A Memoir” | Posted on August 21st, 2015 | Book Discussions, Public Programs