First and foremost, my thanks must go to Simon Gikandi and Marlon
Ross, who served as cochairs of my dissertation committee and have
always provided that genius of mentoring only a few possess. They al-
lowed me to make my own mistakes and, after providing invaluable
foundation, let me make my own way with this project and were always
available for guidance and suggestions. They are not only intellectual
mentors but also role models and precious friends. Alina Clej provided
the intellectual roadmap for those heady poststructuralist critiques,
sharpening my skills as a discourse analyst, and pushed me when I was
ready to settle for merely adequate results. Yopie Prins, whom I have
known since I was an undergraduate, spent precious hours not only
aiding me in this project but also preparing me as a professional in the
field. I must also thank Alan Wald, who was not part of my committee
but may as well have been, given the time, advice, and support he has so
generously donated without a second thought.
I owe equal gratitude to my editor, Ken Wissoker, whose calmness
and ability kept me calm and able, and to his assistant Christine Dahlin,
who is simply the ideal when it comes to getting impossible amounts of
work done quickly and e≈ciently, not to mention flawlessly. My anony-
mous readers at Duke provided me with such detailed and intelligent
reports that Becoming Black bears their indelible stamp, of which I am
quite proud.
I will always be indebted for the intellectual support so generously
given by Joe Trotter and Tera Hunter and for the financial support of the
Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy at Car-
negie Mellon University. My former colleagues at cmu, Kathy Newman,
Carol Hamilton, David Shumway, Kristina Straub, Jon and Nancy Klan-
cher, Sharon Dilworth, and Susan McElroy were always on hand to swap
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