Margo Jefferson on “Negroland: A Memoir” with Jamie Kalven | January 14, 2016

Jan 14, 2016
6pm - 7:30pm
Seminary Co-op Bookstore, 5751 S Woodlawn Ave

About the book: 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.
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.

About the interlocutor: Jamie Kalven is a writer and executive director of the Invisible Institute. He is the author of "Working With Available Light: A Family’s World After Violence" and the editor of "A Worthy Tradition: Free Speech in America" by his father Harry Kalven, Jr. He has reported extensively on police abuse in Chicago and was the plaintiff in Kalven v. Chicago, in which the Illinois appellate court ruled that documents bearing on allegations of police misconduct are public information. He was in school behind Jefferson at The University of Chicago Laboratory School: the Lab School.
This event is wheelchair accessible. Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate should contact the Seminary Co-op for assistance at 773.752.4381.