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Negroland: A Memoir

by Margo Jefferson

Library Journal Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Jefferson relates her upbringing among America's black elite. (LJ 9/15/15) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Born into an upper-class black family in Chicago, Jefferson came of age in the 1960s at a time when just beneath the surface of the civil rights movement, blacks were struggling with class frictions that complicated the ideals of racial unity. Her accomplished and aspiring parents and their friends sometimes thought of themselves as the Third Race, neither black nor white. Her father was a doctor, and her mother a proud stay-at-home mom. They were the strivers and achievers who longed to be judged by their merits, resentful of the racial identification they could not avoid. Jefferson recalls family members who passed, glorious social gatherings with elite entertainers whose fame didn't shield them from racial slights, and the comfort so many took in the embrace of people of their own race and class. Her parents fought the good fight to be treated with respect and equality and looked for any signs of backwardness they might need to root out of their daughters, who were alternately fascinated and repelled by the very cultural signifiers their parents feared. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jefferson draws on cultural touchstones, from Ebony to James Baldwin to Ntozake Shange, as she traces her life during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s, when radical race consciousness and feminism questioned all of the old assumptions. This is a beautifully written memoir of growing up in the black elite with its distinctive challenges of race and class.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Library Journal In this emotional memoir, Pulitzer Prize winner Jefferson (writing, Columbia Univ.; On Michael Jackson) examines race, gender, and class through memories of growing up in a wealthy, elite family in Chicago. A member of Negroland, Jefferson's term for a small group of privileged African Americans, she explains the contradictory nature of her existence, relating tales of childhood and young adulthood that will be familiar to anyone who was once an adolescent girl trying to measure up. These reflections also reveal a painful duality that exists within Negroland, one that can lead to depression and, in some families, exile. Coming of age in the civil rights era, during the shift into second-wave feminism, Jefferson parallels her remembrances with current events of her lifetime; she was born in the 1960s. The author's heartfelt prose takes her audience on a journey through rejection and acceptance, exclusion and inclusion, self-doubt and perseverance in this page-turning, provocative narrative. Includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs. VERDICT Highly recommended for biography and memoir lovers, historians, and readers interested in psychology and social movements. [See Prepub Alert, 3/16/15.]-Venessa Hughes, Buffalo, NY Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

 

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