An engrossing dissection of the "coloured aristocracy"by Sameer Rahim / December 15, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
As a child, Margot Jefferson was taught that “you don’t tell your secrets to strangers—certainly not secrets that expose error, weakness, failure.” Fortunately she has overcome her reticence to write a beautifully nuanced account of growing up as a middle-class African-American in Chicago in the 1950s.
Jefferson’s preferred term for her lost world is “Negroland,” a word full of “wonders, glorious and terrible.” It signals white oppression, for sure, but also racial pride. She attends one of the few private schools in Chicago to take black students, where she excels academically and co-captains the Varsity cheerleaders; she reads Ebony magazine, which has affirming articles such as: “Why I Like Dark Women,” written by Louis Armstrong. Emerging with confidence, she went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for her theatre criticism.