The expansion of the Black American middle class and the unprecedented increase in the number of Black immigrants since the 1960s have transformed the cultural landscape of New York.
In The New Noir, Orly Clerge explores the richly complex worlds of an extraordinary generation of Black middle class adults who have migrated from different corners of the African diaspora to suburbia. The Black middle class today consists of diverse groups whose ongoing cultural, political, and material ties to the American South and Global South shape their cultural interactions at work, in their suburban neighborhoods, and at their kitchen tables. Clerge compellingly analyzes the making of a new multinational Black middle class and how they create a spectrum of Black identities that help them carve out places of their own in a changing 21st-century global city.
Paying particular attention to the largest Black ethnic groups in the country, Black Americans, Jamaicans, and Haitians, Clerge’s ethnography draws on over 80 interviews with residents to examine the overlooked places where New York’s middle class resides in Queens and Long Island. This book reveals that region and nationality shape how the Black middle class negotiates the everyday politics of race and class.