In an interview with NPR's Fresh Air, Jefferson reveals that, ultimately, it was the Black Power movement that led her to question some of the tenets that she had grown up with: "Black Power was really a major challenge to the social privileges and structures of the kind of privilege that I had grown up with," she says. "That whole belief ... that you will only be able to advance if you are perfectly behaved, if you present yourself as what white people would consider an ideal of whiteness ... all of that just began to burst open."
Is the concept of "Negroland" a relic of the past, or do upper class African Americans still experience the pressures Jefferson faced? And how strong is the class/color dividing line in 21st century Black America? We'll wrestle with these questions at our discussion on April 19th, 7:00 pm.
**Jefferson will be speaking as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival on April 30th . Her talk, accompanied by Darryl Pinckney, author of Black Deutschland , is on "Style and the Black Bourgeoisie". Not to be missed!
Some books exploring similar terrain:
Black bourgeoisie by Franklin Frazier
The new Black middle class by Bart Landry
Two classic studies on black upward mobility and social culture.
Disintegration : the splintering of Black America by Eugene Robinson
Examines conflicts between 4 different subgroups within African American life: the "Abandoned" urban underclass; the "Mainstream" educated middle class; the super-rich, super elite "Transcendent"; and the "Emergent" population of mixed race and African/Caribbean immigrants.
The rage of a privileged class by Ellis Cose
Is Bill Cosby right? : or has the Black middle class lost its mind? by Michael Eric Dyson