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Negroland: A Memoir de Margo Jefferson
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Negroland: A Memoir (2015 original; edició 2015)

de Margo Jefferson (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
5292434,113 (3.62)89
"At once incendiary and icy, mischievous, and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, 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 to distance itself from whites and the black generality, while tirelessly measuring itself against both. Born in 1947 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 post-racial 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 illustrations.)"--… (més)
Membre:rmdmphilosopher
Títol:Negroland: A Memoir
Autors:Margo Jefferson (Autor)
Informació:Vintage (2015), 258 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:to-read

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Negroland: A Memoir de Margo Jefferson (2015)

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This is exceptionally well-crafted, and shares the story of a community not often written about, well-educated affluent Black people in the second half of the 20th century. That said I did not find myself captivated. I know the story of various newer Americans striving to become educated and wealthy and to turn that into acceptance by the White Christian overlords have many similarities from one community to another, but the stories of various groups also differ in their particulars. That said, while many groups are shut out of mainstream success, particularly in the heartland, there can be no question that successful educated blacks have faced the greatest hurdles. Not only are they often not accepted by their white peers, those peers have historically assiduously held them back.

I was a little Jewish girl whose mother took her to a (Black) salon for hair straightening with lye and hot combs, who wore white anklets and black patent leather shoes, and was expected to behave in a generally waspy manner so as not to stand out (I generally failed miserably at this.) I expected that I would feel some small sense of kinship with Jefferson and her family, but as I read the story it seemed so familiar that it bored me. Nonetheless, its a really honest and beautifully written book. (ETA: I did the audio for this, and the reader was very good.) ( )
  Narshkite | Jul 24, 2020 |
Jefferson was born into a privileged family in Chicago; her father was head of paediatrics at a famous local hospital and her mother was a well-known socialite. Even though she had a rarefied upbringing and decent education in 1950’s America and could be considered part of the local elite, she was never going to be accepted by society in general, because she was black.

“I call it Negroland because I still find “Negro” a word of wonders, glorious and terrible. A word for runaway slave posters and civil rights proclamations; for social constructs and street corner flaunts. A tonal-language word whose meaning shifts as setting and context shift, as history twists, lurches, advances, and stagnates. As capital letters appear to enhance its dignity; as other nomenclatures”

Jefferson’s family were members of what she describes as Negroland, an exclusive club of privileged blacks or what her mother calls, “upper-class Negroes and upper-middle-class Americans”. They were excluded from the very high society of Chicago because of their colour whilst never managing to integrate themselves fully in the black community there. Through her eyes, we see American societies crucial turning points in the late 20th century; civil rights, gender awareness and prejudice.

“Privilege is provisional. Privilege can be denied, withheld, offered grudgingly and summarily withdrawn. Entitlement is impervious to the kinds of verbs that modify privilege. Our people have had to work, scrape for privilege, gobble it down when those who would snatch it away weren’t looking. Keep a close watch.”

The writing is conversational and at times chatty, but most importantly it is full of wry commentary, provocative observations and melancholic musings. She shows perseverance in trying to make her way in a country that has made real progression with regards to race, but still has so far to go. Worth reading for an insight into a culture and a country so very different to mine. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
I enjoyed reading Negroland very much. It left me wanting more though in almost every category it touched on. There are extraordinary thoughts here but they didn't cohere for me into a whole. There is a pan-historical thread, for example, that considers, too briefly, how a handful of African Americans navigated racism and extreme hostility to become educated and prosperous prior to the 1950's. There is a thread that speaks in the voice of "we" and is roughly defined throughout the book as economically successful, well-educated African Americans in the separate-but-equal era of the 1950's. There is also a personal story, but the anecdotes from Jefferson's own life seem picked to show a moral or make a social point rather than rising organically or providing a complete sense of Jefferson's life experiences. So while deeply readable it left me wanting.

Maybe my sense of incompleteness from the book is completely perfect though. Margo Jefferson makes frequent interjections in her story to examine her own, hesitant feelings about her subject; to acknowledge her ambivalence to speak about "Negroland" at all, after being drilled as a child to never complain, to always be an example for others, to always put her best foot forward. This ambivalence about how much to share becomes a subtext in the book that both enriches it and prevents it from being a completely open and honest look at an era, and a way of life, that is no more. ( )
  poingu | Feb 22, 2020 |
Ms. Jefferson's memoir is a sharp-eyed look at her life and her class, as well as an examination of racism and sexism in American life. If that sounds intimidating, her book is also intimate, personal and full of grace and humor as well as analysis. ( )
  nmele | Aug 21, 2019 |
The story of how hard it is to be a rich black girl. Yep, not that hard but woa is me I'm black. ( )
  fulner | Oct 9, 2018 |
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"At once incendiary and icy, mischievous, and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, 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 to distance itself from whites and the black generality, while tirelessly measuring itself against both. Born in 1947 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 post-racial 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 illustrations.)"--

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