Margo Jefferson - "Negroland: A Memoir" - Jamie Kalven - CSRPC

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm

Margo Jefferson discusses Negroland: A Memoir. She will be joined in conversation by Jamie Kalven. CSRPC will co-sponsor the event.

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE

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.

About the co-sponsor: The Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture was established in 1994 under the direction of Professor Michael Dawson. From its inception, faculty, students, and staff who have been involved with the Center have been committed to establishing a new type of research institute devoted to the study of race and ethnicity, one that seeks to expand the study of race beyond the black/white paradigm while exploring social and identity cleavages within racialized communities. Scholars affiliated with the Center have also endeavored to make race and ethnicity central topics of intellectual investigation at the University of Chicago by fostering interdisciplinary research, teaching, and public debate among students and faculty. Fundamentally, the Center is committed to producing engaged scholarship that rejects the false dichotomy between rigorous intellectual work and community activism. We seek, instead, to contribute intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that can help people transform their thinking and their lives. Towards those goals, the Center has provided funding and other types of support for a number of projects initiated by faculty affiliated with the Center, graduate students, and visiting fellows.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637