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Natasha S. Alford presenting “American Negra: A Memoir” in conversation with BRANDON M. TERRY and MAYA DOIG-ACUÑA

March 4 @ 7:00 pm

 |  FREE


March 4
7:00 pm
Event Categories:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States


Harvard Book Store
(617) 661-1515

American Negra: A Memoir

Harvard Book Store welcomes NATASHA S. ALFORD—CNN political analyst and vice president of digital content for theGrio, and anchor for theGrio TV—for a discussion of her new memoir American Negra. She will be joined in conversation by BRANDON M. TERRY—John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University—and MAYA DOIG-ACUÑA—PhD candidate in African & African American Studies at Harvard University.

About American Negra

Award-winning journalist Natasha S. Alford grew up between two worlds as the daughter of an African American father and Puerto Rican mother. In American Negra, a narrative that is part memoir, part cultural analysis, Alford reflects on growing up as a Black Latina in a working-class family from the city of Syracuse.

In smart, vivid prose, Alford illustrates the complexity of being multiethnic in Upstate New York and society’s flawed teachings about matters of identity. When she travels to Puerto Rico for the first time, she is the darkest in her family, and navigates shame for not speaking Spanish fluently. She visits African-American hair salons where she’s told that she has “good” hair, while internalizing images from Spanish-language media that she has “bad” hair or pelo malo.

When Alford goes from an underfunded public school system to Harvard University surrounded by privilege and pedigree, she wrestles with more than her own ethnic identity, as she is faced with imposter syndrome, and a struggle to define success on her own terms. A study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic changes her perspective on being Afro-Latina and sets her on a path to better understand her own Latin roots.

Alford then embarks on a whirlwind journey to find her authentic voice, taking her across the United States from a hedge fund boardroom to a classroom and ultimately a newsroom, as a journalist.

A coming-of-age story about what it’s like to live at the intersections of race, culture, and class, while staying true to yourself, American Negra is a captivating look at what it means to be both Black and Negra in the United States.

As a growing movement to embrace Afro-Latino identity gains recognition, American Negra illustrates the diversity of the Afro-Latin experience in the larger fabric of American society.