Negroland

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052016061720160618 (R4)

The writer and critic Margo Jefferson was born in 1947, the daughter of a paediatrician and a fashionable socialite, and grew up surrounded by the comforts of a well off family who were part of Chicago's black elite. This is the world she terms, 'Negroland' - 'I call it Negroland because I still find 'Negro' a word of wonders, glorious and terrible.... because I lived with its meanings and intimations for so long.'

In the 1960s, as the Black Power movement in America gained momentum, the young Margo Jefferson had to find a way of resolving the internal conflicts arising from being educated to be better than the white people who occupied positions of power. Growing up with the advantages of class and money had somehow resulted in 'an excess of white-derived manners and interests'. Negotiating rules, entitlements and prejudices made it increasingly difficult to find her place and her self in the fractured world around her.

Written and read by Margo Jefferson

Abridged and produced by Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Margo recalls the 60s and 70s and the difficulty of reconciling being privileged and black