This book owes its life to an ambitious and inspiring cohort of media
makers and activists who pioneered this genre. Many of the producers,
artists, journalists and technicians who created the television shows ex-
amined in this volume spent many hours with me, recollecting this forma-
tive moment in their careers. I wish to extend heartfelt thanks to everyone
whom I interviewed, but especially to Madeline Anderson, Kay Bourne,
Elombe Brath, Hazel Bright, Angela Fontanez, Kent Garrett, Nikki Gio-
vanni, Jewelle Gomez, Louise Greaves, William Greaves, Charles Hobson,
Anna Horsford, Stan Lathan, James Lowry, Kit Lukas, Ernestine Middle-
ton, Al Perlmutter, Lou Potter, Bobby Shepard, Jim Tilmon, Marian Etoille
Watson, and Eric Werner. I also wish to express my gratitude to St. Clair
Bourne and to Wali Siddiq (formerly Lou House), both of whom passed
away after I had the privilege of interviewing them and thus never got to
see this work completed. Meeting and getting to know the work of all of
these groundbreaking and inspiring media makers was without a doubt the
most rewarding part of writing this book.
The initial research for this book was funded by a Mellon Humanities
Center Travel Grant from Northwestern University as well as a Humanities
Center Graduate Affiliate Award. I am also grateful for fellowships from
the Northwestern University Graduate School: both a Research Fellow-
ship and a Graduate Research Grant. The University of South Carolina’s
Institute for Southern Studies funded a research trip to South Carolina.
The American Association of University Women American Fellowship
provided much- needed support during the initial write- up year.
I am grateful to students in my Civil Rights and Media, Race/Media/
Culture, and Black Cinema courses for insights on the problems and pos-
sibilities of African American media representations. In the past two
years, five accomplished students, Riley Hutchinson, Maya Imhoff, Kate
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