“Negroland is my name for a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty. Children in Negroland were warned that few Negroes enjoyed privilege or plenty and that most whites would be glad to see them returned to indigence, deference and subservience.”
“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 taunts. 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 arise to challenge its primacy.” ~ Margo Jefferson, Negroland: A Memoir
This blog is dedicated to the analysis and critique of Margo Jefferson’s 2015 memoir Negroland. Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 to a physician and a socialite in upper-crust black Chicago. She attended the Chicago Lab school and Brandeis University, and received her M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Currently she is a professor at Columbia University, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic. She has written two books: On Michael Jackson and Negroland.
Under the navigation above, you will find links to the full book analysis and four subcategories, including black entertainment, feminism in the African American community, black education, and the mental health of black women, that explore specific aspects of the book’s subject matter in more detail.
The black entertainment blog explores the intersection of colorism, racism, and black female archetypes in the 1940s-50s’ American entertainment industry and how skin color contributed to the typecasting of black actresses into specific stereotypical roles.
The black feminism blog explores the black feminist movement that started in the 1970s. Focusing specifically on what spurred the movement, the different ideas that have been presented, and how the movement has developed since the 1970s.
The black education blog explores the racism and discrimination that black students face in school environment and their negative impacts on students’ lives.
The black mental health blog explores how upper-class blacks’ mental health was affected by their status in society, and the unspoken but suffocating expectations that were held against them–that they had to exert themselves to achieve so much more just to be on equal footing with upper-class whites, only for the goal posts to continuously be moved further and further out of reach.
All of the blogs collectively illustrate the African American struggle for equal rights, empowerment, and respect and the progress they accomplished despite incredibly disadvantageous circumstances. They are a part of the American civil rights movement, a movement that was created with the formation of the African diaspora and that still burns brightly today. Enjoy.
by Jioni Tuck, Thomeka Watkins, Vivian Phyo, and Von McKnight