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Color: Shades of green
Food: Dessert, chocalate
Quote: Various. In the 1970s Fats Waller: One never knows, do one.
Season: Fall
Vacation Destination: According to mood
Chicago, Illinois
Interview Description:

Biography |

Interview Date: 01/20/2017

Journalism professor and art critic Margo L. Jefferson was born on October 17, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, to Ron and Irma Jefferson. Jefferson graduated from the University of Chicago Laboratory School in 1961. She earned her B.A. degree in English and American literature from Brandeis University in 1968, and went on to earn her M.S. degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1971.

In 1973, Jefferson was hired as an associate editor for Newsweek magazine, where she worked until 1978. In 1979, she joined the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at New York University as an assistant professor. Jefferson was hired by Vogue magazine in 1984, where she served as an arts criticism contributing editor until 1989. She also served as a contributing editor to 7 Days magazine in 1988 and 1989. Jefferson returned to New York University as an assistant professor in 1989, where she taught critical writing and features until 1991, when she was hired as a lecturer of American literature, performing arts criticism, writing, and English at Columbia University. In 1993, Jefferson accepted a position at The New York Times as a culture critic. She was then promoted to Sunday theater critic in 1995, and became critic-at-large in 1996. She has been named a professor of writing at Columbia University, and has served as a visiting associate professor at the New School for Liberal Arts in New York City.

Throughout her career, Jefferson has been a contributing critic to many other publications, including Grand Street, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, The Village Voice, Ms., The Soho Weekly News, Dance Ink, Lear’s, Harper’s, Alt, Denmark, and NRC Handelsblad. She has written and performed two theater pieces at The Cherry Lane Theatre and The Culture Project. Jefferson is also the author of On Michael Jackson, which was published in 2006. Her autobiography Negroland, was published in 2015 and received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography in 2016.

Jefferson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1995, and has received the Alumni Achievement Award from Brandeis University. In addition, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation /Theater Communications Group grant, and has served as a senior fellow for the National Arts Journalism Program.

Jefferson lives in New York, New York.

Margo Jefferson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 20, 2017.

Speaker Bureau Notes: