I shall be forever indebted to Arnold Rampersad for introducing me to Richard
Bruce Nugent and supporting my decision to undertake this project. Richard
Newman has been unwavering in his enthusiasm and encouragement, even
in the most trying circumstances, and has rendered invaluable assistance and
advice, as has Abba Elethea (James W. Thompson), a close friend whom I met
through Bruce and who has shared many recollections of Bruce with me. My
colleague Barbara Hoerner not only contributed to the preservation of the ‘‘Sa-
lome Series’’ but also listened patiently to my daily description of the vicissi-
tudes involved in publishing this book. Barbara Smith pointed out to me the
important Locke and Nugent correspondence in the Glenn Carrington papers
in the Moreland-Spingarn Collection. George Chauncey, Margaret Vendryes,
David Levering Lewis, Michael Henry Adams, James Hatch, Shawn Stuart
Ruff, Camille Billops, Kevin McGruder, A. B. Christa Schwartz, and many
others have contributed useful information and moral support. The amazing
talents of paper conservationists Mary Whitten and Winnie Bendiner have res-
cued a significant portion of Nugent’s legacy from the ravages of time and ne-
glect. Finally, I would like to thank the editorial staff of Duke University Press,
especially Katie Courtland, for their unwavering enthusiasm and invaluable
For the most part, Nugent’s writings—even many of his published writings—
were never rigorously edited. The unpublished work included here was taken
directly from manuscript. Therefore, in preparing this book for publication, I
found it necessary to make limited modifications in Nugent’s punctuation and
sentence structure and occasionally to correct his spelling. I have undertaken
this task with great caution, mindful always of the need to remain faithful both
to his intent and to his particular style.
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