Natasha S. Alford at Harvard Book Store


American Negra: A Memoir

in conversation with BRANDON M. TERRY and MAYA DOIG-ACUÑA


March 4, 2024
7:00 PM ET


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

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.

Praise for American Negra

"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

"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

Masking Policy

Masks are encouraged but not required for this event.

Brandon M. Terry
Brandon M. Terry

Brandon M. Terry

Brandon M. Terry is the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University and the co-director of the Institute on Policing, Incarceration, and Public Safety at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. A scholar of African American political thought, Brandon is the editor, with Tommie Shelby, of To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the editor of Fifty Years Since MLK. He has published work in Modern Intellectual History, Political Theory, The New York Review of Books, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, Dissent, The Point, and New Labor Forum. He is currently at work on two books. The first, which will be released in 2024, is The Tragic Vision of the Civil Rights Movement: Political Theory and the Historical Imagination.The second is tentatively titled Home to Roost: Malcolm X Between Prophecy and Peril

Maya Doig-Acuña
Maya Doig-Acuña

Maya Doig-Acuña

Maya Doig-Acuña is a PhD candidate in African & African American Studies with a primary field in History. Her research interests include Black diaspora-making, family history, and migration in Central America and the circum-Caribbean. Her current project examines 20th century West Indian migratory circuits, memory, and community formation in Panama and New York City, with a particular focus on the intimate and everyday dimensions of Black women’s lives under empire. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. Her published writing can be found in Southern Cultures Journal, Guernica Magazine, and Remezcla.

Natasha S. Alford
Natasha S. Alford

Natasha S. Alford

Natasha S. Alford is an award-winning journalist, host, and media executive driven by the power of storytelling to inspire and change people’s lives. Natasha serves as vice president of digital content for theGrio and an anchor for theGrio TV. She is also a CNN political analyst, where she offers commentary on the news, politics, and movements of the moment. Her work has also been published in the New York Times, the Guardian, Oprah Daily, Time magazine, and Vogue. Natasha is currently completing a Master in Public Policy at Princeton University and resides with her family in New Jersey.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.

While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.

Ordering a signed book on

  • Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
  • Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
  • Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.

Ordering a signed book by phone:

  • Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
  • If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.


Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.

Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!

Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.

I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.

More questions? Give us a call!

Co-Sponsored by the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research

The Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University supports research on the history and culture of people of African descent the world over and provides a forum for collaboration and the ongoing exchange of ideas. Learn more at

General Info
(617) 661-1515

Media Inquiries

Accessibility Inquiries

Classic Totes

Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs
, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!

Learn More »

Shipping & Pickup

We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!

Learn More »

Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!

Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.

Learn More »