American Negra

A Memoir

by Natasha S. Alford

On Sale: 02/27/2024

American Negra

Enlarge Book Cover

American Negra

A Memoir

by Natasha S. Alford

On Sale: 02/27/2024


About the Book

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 in a working-class family from the city of Syracuse, NY.

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 that as a Latina 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, a shocking medical diagnosis, and a struggle to define success on her own terms. A study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic changes her perspective on Afro-Latinidad 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, gender, and class, all while staying true to yourself, American Negra is a captivating look at one woman’s experience being Negra in the United States.

As the movement to highlight Afro-Latin identity and overlooked histories of the African diaspora grows, American Negra illustrates the diversity of the Black experience in the larger fabric of American society.

Critical Praise

An Essence "Best Book To Consider Adding To Your 'Must-Read' List" * An Elle "Most Anticipated Book"

"In her searing debut, Alford smartly and candidly examines what it means to be Black and Latina in America, and interrogates identity, class, race and success—on her terms. American Negra is required reading for anyone longing to understand the intricacies of intersectionality in this country, and be inspired in the process." — Sunny Hostin, 3x Emmy Award-winning co-host of ABC’s “The View” and New York Times best-selling author

"A heartening and instructive portrait of a young woman’s search for identity." — Kirkus Reviews

"Alford's story is one of belonging and feeling a connection to her past and her present. Alford’s journalistic writing style is engaging and accessible, and her account is never overly sentimental or nostalgic." — Booklist

"American Negra is one of those rare books that offers an eye-opening and entirely different perspective on not just the world around us, but our own identities and experiences. I read it in one sitting, compelled to keep turning pages by Alford’s accessible, engaging and insightful prose, and a story that is both distinctive and entirely relatable. Watching her navigate her multiple identities in a world that has always been keen to box her in, find her power and learn to put herself, her dreams and her wellbeing at the center was an inspiration. " — Alisha Fernandez Miranda, author of My What If Year


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780063237100
  • ISBN 10: 0063237105
  • Imprint: Harper
  • On Sale: 02/27/2024
  • Pages: 288
  • List Price:35.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black
  • BISAC3 : HISTORY / African American

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