Constructing a Nervous System

by Margo Jefferson is a memoir that reads as a companion to Jefferson’s previous book, Negroland, about her childhood and the forces that shaped her. In Constructing a Nervous System, she broadens her lens and looks to the elements of American culture that have inspired and challenged her throughout her life. These include the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, and Billy Eckstine, the writing of Willa Cather and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the performance talents of Josephine Baker and Hattie McDaniel, among others. Through these cultural touchstones, Jefferson explores her own life and mind with rigorous clarity. (Non-Fiction)