I express deep gratitude to the mentors, friends, and colleagues who
have inspired me, supported this project, and helped me through its
years of creation. I owe special thanks to Melani McAlister and Jennifer
Brody, Judith Williams, Tera Hunter, E. Patrick Johnson, Harry Elam Jr.,
Jonathan Holloway, Daphne Brooks, Gayle Wald, Joe Trotter, Joseph
Roach, John Jackson, Rena Fraden, Mike Witmore, Jennifer James,
Tanisha Massie, Michele Gates Moresi, Denise Meringolo, Hershini
Bhana Young, Terri Francis, Scott Trafton, Shelley Lee, Badia Ahad,
Ayanah Moor, Grisha Coleman, Heather Arnet, Jeffrey Williams, Joan
Prince, Neil Barclay, David Kaufer, Kristina Straub, Kathy Newman,
Jennifer Richeson, Nicole Shelton, Chantal Morgan D’Appuzzo, John
Rickford, Vera Grant, Claudine Michel, Julie Carlson, Ingrid Banks,
George Lipsitz, Roberto Strongman, Gaye Johnson, Stephanie LeMena-
ger, Laura Helper- Ferris, and Ed Blum. I am grateful for Ken Wissoker’s
faith in this project and his continual development of brilliant lists in
diasporic, cultural, and performance studies, of which I am proud to be
a part. You are each so wonderful. I am privileged to know you.
I thank my family, Shelley and Steve Benton, Keith and Vinti Batiste,
and Kellie, Tianna, Kenietha, Kyle, Brent, and Lisa, and all my nieces
and nephews for your support, humor, diversion, interest in this proj-
ect, and refreshing lack thereof. Ernest Prescott and Louque have en-
riched my life immeasurably. This effort is dedicated to you.
Several research assistants helped in myriad ways: Amber Bailey,
Jennifer Miller, John Newton, Katie June- Friesen, Melissa Wehler, Amy
King, Sheila Mae Liming, and Philip Stephenson. Lydia Balian, Alison
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