I owe a profound debt of gratitude to many who have provided support and
moral sustenance as I have written this book. Anyone familiar with the strug-
gles waged by those who hold the field of Africana Studies near and dear
realizes that the responsibilities and burdens concomitant with that field
require collective commitment and work. I have been fortunate to be a part of
such a collective group of teaching scholars and dedicated sta√ members in
the Department of African American Studies at Syracuse University. In particu-
lar, Micere Githae Mugo and Milt Sernett have been valued mentors. I am
especially grateful to Micere for her comments on an earlier draft of this book,
and for her relentless work on behalf of the field. Janis Mayes provided an
important professional opportunity at a key moment. I owe a great deal to
Linda Carty, who assumed the most di≈cult job at virtually any academic
institution—chair of an Africana department—with both tenacity and grace.
Linda is a scholar whose integrity can only be matched by her commitment to
the fields of Africana Studies and Women’s Studies.
The women and men who consented to be interviewed are the driving force
behind many of the pages of this book: Benjamin A. Brown, Joseph E. Boone,
Herschelle Challenor, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Mukasa Dada, Jualynne Dodson,
Jan Douglas, Gene Ferguson, Sandra Hollin Flowers, Larry Fox, Vincent Hard-
ing, Beni Ivey, Lonnie King, Joyce Ladner, Emma Jean Martin, Ethel Mae
Mathews, Silas Norman, Fay Bellamy Powell, Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons,
Michael Simmons, William Strickland, and Columbus Ward. (Although we
never conducted a single formal interview, I also thank Dwight Williams
for several informal discussions of the Atlanta Project.) Beginning with Ms.
Mathews, I will be forever grateful to these grassroots community organizers,
feminists, radical nationalists, and engaged intellectuals for being so incred-
ibly giving of their time. Interviewing these activists has underscored the
importance of lifting up the living history of Black human rights struggles.
This particular journey began at Emory University and in the Black neigh-
borhoods of Atlanta. I will be forever in debt to Dan Carter, Leroy Davis, and
Mary Odem for their guidance and support throughout the entire dissertation
process. My doctoral studies were also influenced by the teaching, scholar-
ship, and support of Beverly Guy-Sheftall, James Roark, Kristin Mann, and