Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Margo Jefferson  

Pen Name: None


Audience: Adult;

Born: in Chicago, Illinois

-- Website --
-- Margo Jefferson on WorldCat --

E-Mail: --

Illinois Connection

Jefferson is a Chicago native.

Biographical and Professional Information

Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize winning author for criticism. She has served as book and arts critic for Newsweek and the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in, among other publications, Vogue, New York Magazine, The Nation, and Guernica. Her memoir, Negroland, received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. She is also the author of On Michael Jackson and is a professor of writing at Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City.


'Negroland ' Winner, National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography, 2016 Winner, Heartland Prize Notable Book, New York Times Best Books of the Year List, The Washington Post Best Books of the Year List, Los Angeles Times Best Books of the Year List, Time Best Books of the Year List, Vanity Fair Best Books of the Year List, Marie Claire Best Books of the Year List, Time Out New York Best Books of the Year List, Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Books of the Year List, Kansas City Star Best Books of the Year List, Men’s Journal Best Books of the Year List, Oprah

Speaking Engagements

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Selected Titles At Your Library

Negroland :
ISBN: 0307473430. OCLC Number: 931642394

. .

Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. In these pages, Jefferson takes us into this insular and discerning society: "I call it Negroland," she writes, "because I still find 'Negro' a word of wonders, glorious and terrible." Negroland's pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South. It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs--a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and "the masses of Negros," and where the motto was "Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment." At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America.

Negroland :
ISBN: 9781783783397. OCLC Number: 954719249

. .

The daughter of a successful paediatrician and a fashionable socialite, Margo Jefferson spent her childhood among Chicago's black elite. She calls this society 'Negroland': 'a small region of Negro America where residents were sheltered by a certain amount of privilege and plenty'. With privilege came expectation. 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.

On Michael Jackson /
ISBN: 0307277658. OCLC Number: 61445920

Pantheon Books,. .

From the Publisher: Margo Jefferson's On Michael Jackson is a lucid and elegant cultural analysis of the rise and fall of the King of Pop. An award-winning cultural critic, Jefferson brings an unexpected compassion as well as her sharp intellect and incomparable insight to Jackson's 2005 trial for child molestation, startling us with her erudite illumination of a media-drenched circus that we only thought we understood. As only she can, Jefferson reads between the lines of Jackson's 1998 autobiography as well as published accounts of his childhood, his family, and Motown-where Michael and his brothers first made the Jackson 5 a household name-leaving us with provocative and perhaps unanswerable questions about Jackson, child stardom, and fame itself.

On Michael Jackson.
ISBN: 1783784202. OCLC Number: 999666372

Granta Books,. .

Michael Jackson: provocateur, icon, enigma. Who was he really? And how does his spectacular rise, his catastrophic fall, reflect upon those who made him; those who broke him; and those who loved him? Almost ten years on from Jackson's untimely death, here is Margo Jefferson's definitive and dazzling dissection of the King of Pop: a man admired for his music, his flair, his performances; and censured for his skin, his erratic behaviour, and, in his final years, for his relationships with children.--