Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Ten memoirs & essay collections by Black women

Alicia Simba is a writer and educator living and working in Oakland, California. She has been published in Teen Vogue, Slate, Blavity, and more, and runs a weekly substack titled "an education." She is a graduate of Barnard College and Stanford University.

At Electric Lit she tagged ten "memoirs and personal essay collections released in the past ten years [that] exemplify [the] growing urgency by Black women to tell our side of the story." One title on the list:
Negroland: A Memoir by Margo Jefferson

Writing about her upbringing in a wealthy, professional Black community of Chicago in the 1950s, critic Margo Jefferson reflects on the intersections of race, gender, class, and color within her community, poetically delving into the nuances of Black life. The Pulitzer Prize winner manages a tight balancing act, honestly approaching the privileges and prejudices of her childhood family and friends, whilst remaining steadfast in her knowledge and understanding that Blackness—regardless of status or hue—is still ultimately Black. “We’re considered upper-class Negroes and upper-middle-class Americans,” her mother tells her, “But most people would like to consider us Just More Negroes.”
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue