This book and its forthcoming companion volume, Debating Black Athena,
have had a long gestation.They were conceived in August 1994 in a diner in
Quebec Cityaftera panel on BlackAthena at the tenth conference of the Inter-
national Federation of Societies of Classical Studies at Laval University.
We panelists—Valentin Mudimbe, David Chioni Moore, Denise McCoskey,
and I—ate and relaxed. In the course of the conversation, I expressed my
frustration that Mary Lefkowitz and Guy Rogers were not allowing me to
respond in their forthcoming edited volume Black Athena Revisited (BAR).
What is more, they had refused to include the replies I had already pub-
lished to many of the pieces to be contained in their volume.
I mentioned that I should like to bring out a collection of my scattered
replies in a single book and I wondered whether any publisher would be
interested in such a project. Mudimbe and Moore both said that the editors
at Duke University Press might like the idea. They thought, however, that
a book that moved away from the minutiae of Classics to discuss broader
issues around Black Athena would be more interesting to them and to the