In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

381 Acknowledgments As I call to mind the Memphians and non-Memphians who supported this project, I realize that my words here will no doubt fall short of the gratitude I feel, both to university scholars and to people whose life work lies far from the university. I first wish to thank the women and men whose struggles, stories, and reflections became central to this project. Each interview became far more than a gathering of information, transforming instead into a challenging exchange about how to interpret historical memories. Indeed, these conversations became crucial to my decision to organize the book around the concept of the “plantation mentality” and the battles against it, in both thought and deed. I would particularly like to note the invaluable insights and encouragement of Ida Leachman, president of Local 282 of the furniture workers union and a descendant of Ida B. Wells, whose courageous writing against lynching in the 1890s resonated in the struggles of black Memphians during the twentieth-century black freedom movement. The encouragement and engagement of many scholars have had a profound impact on this project since its inception. I am especially grateful to Thomas C. Holt for his challenging questions, thoughtful suggestions, and persistent support. His commitment to working out the problem of race and freedom, historically and in the present, has been inspirational. Michael Flug, director of the Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection for Afro-American History and Literature, at the Carter G. Woodson branch of the Chicago Public Library, has been extraordinarily helpful by urging me to think in new ways about the black freedom movement. I am similarly grateful to George Chauncey, who encouraged my work first at New York University, as a visiting professor, and then at the University of Chicago. Leora Auslander and Julie Saville also offered crucial insights during the completion of the dissertation. In addition to Tom Holt and Julie Saville, several scholars of race, gender, class, and freedom in the postemancipation era have influenced my work. I especially thank several women scholars in that field who became close colleagues and friends, including Laura Edwards, Hannah Rosen, Nancy Bercaw, Cynthia Blair, and Gretchen Long. In the midst of my research I learned that Gretchen’s great uncle was the courageous Rev. George A. Long who stood up to Boss Crump in the 1940s. I remain deeply appreciative of my thought-provoking discussions about the “plantation mentality” with each of these wonderful scholars and friends. The women historians in my writing group at the University of Texas work in quite different fields, yet they made equally important contributions. For their sisterly support and intellectual insights during my final preparation of the manuscript, I am enormously grateful to Denise Spellberg, a scholar of Middle Eastern studies; Acknowledgments 382 Kimberly Alidio, who focuses on Filipinos and American imperialism; and Elizabeth Bishop, whose scholarship spans the Middle East, Russia, and the United States. I am similarly appreciative of discussions with anthropologist Laura Helper, whose exuberant intellectual engagement with this project since we met in Memphis , where she was working on her forthcoming book on race, ethnicity, and crossover music, has always been inspiring; with Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, a scholar of French and black feminist literature and theory; and with Jennifer Rycenga, a scholar of women’s and religious studies. The roots of this work go back to my graduate studies at New York University as an M.A. student, where I particularly benefited from the encouragement of Thomas Bender, the late Warren Dean, Carole Groneman, and Daniel Walkowitz, along with the Women’s History Program faculty: Penelope Johnson, Molly Nolan, Susan Ware, and Marilyn Young; as well as the graduate students who met weekly at 8:00 a.m. over breakfast during my final year there. I especially thank Sarah Judson for our many hours of discussion of African American and women’s history. At the University of Chicago, I was fortunate to encounter a group of deeply thoughtful and engaged scholars. Along with those I have already mentioned, I would like to thank faculty members Kathleen Neils Conzen, Amy Dru Stanley, and Norma Field for their precious time, intellectual rigor, and crucial questions. I was also privileged to encounter and become friends with talented graduate students focusing on race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, including Gabriela Arredondo, David Churchill, Kathleen Flake, Susan Gooding, Sharon Hayashi, Chad Heap, Theresa Mah, Miriam Paullac, Nayan Shah, Alexandra Stern, and Derek Vaillant. Many others at the university in...

pdf

Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.