Margo Jefferson and Damon Tweedy

Margo Jefferson and Damon Tweedy at

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Anne Bothwell from KERA will moderate a conversation with both authors onstage.

Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson will discuss her book Negroland: A Memoir, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and a New York Times Notable Book. Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago; her father was a physician, and her mother, a socialite. Author Isabel Wilkerson hailed the book as “provocative and insightful. . . . Melancholic and hopeful, raw and disarming, she weighs the psychic toll of constructed divisions at the intersection of race, gender, caste, and privilege. A moving memoir that is an act of courage in its vulnerability.” Vanity Fair said, “Jefferson is a national treasure and her memoir should be required reading across the country.”

Damon Tweedy is a graduate of Duke Medical School and Yale Law School. When he began medical school, he envisioned a bright future where his segregated, working class background would be largely irrelevant. Instead, he found that he had joined a new world where race is front and center. The recipient of a scholarship designed to increase black enrollment, Tweedy soon met a professor who bluntly questions whether he belongs in medical school, a moment that crystallizes the challenges he will face throughout his career. His powerful and empathic memoir, Black Man in a White Coat, was a New York Times bestseller and Time Magazine Top 10 Nonfiction Book in 2015. It examines the complex ways in which both black doctors and patients must navigate the difficult and often contradictory terrain of race and medicine. As Tweedy transforms from student to practicing physician, he discovers how often race influences his encounters with patients. Through their stories, he illustrates the complex social, cultural, and economic factors at the root of most health problems in the black community. These issues take on greater meaning when Tweedy is himself diagnosed with a chronic disease far more common among black people. He currently serves as an assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center and staff physician at the Durham VA Medical Center.
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