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xi ACKNOWLEDGMENTS As I’ve discovered, when you write a book about memory, you can become fairly obsessed about your capacity for forgetfulness. Keeping that in mind, I need to begin my acknowledgments with an apology: I can only assume that in the paragraphs that follow I will have forgotten some people—close friends, even—who played a real role in helping this book come to fruition. I am sorry for this oversight, but I want you to know (and you know who you are) that I think of you all the time. This book began in Harvey Kaye’s living room. When I told him my plans for the next project, he said they weren’t that interesting and wondered what else I had on my mind. After I rambled on for a few flustered minutes about memory and identity, he said I’d be a fool for considering anything else. I love the fact that Harvey set me straight in a way that only he can. Although the project has changed considerably since I previewed it for him, I think he will like what he sees. If not, I’m sure he’ll let me know. My first opportunity to focus on this project came during a sabbatical year at the Stanford Humanities Center (SHC). The SHC staff, in general, was phenomenal. I particularly benefited from my extended conversations with Chiyuma Elliott, Pei-pei Lin, and Elizabeth Wahl. The Humanities Center fellows were an exceptional lot as well. Numerous lunchtime conversations helped me see the project from entirely fresh perspectives. During that same year, I benefited enormously from the camaraderie and support of key figures in Stanford’s American studies and African American studies communities: Clayborne Carson, Sandra Drake, Vera Grant, John Rickford, Arnold Rampersad, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Harry Elam, and Michele Elam. I also profited from the research assistance of Christina Knight, an SHC undergraduate fellow. The participants in the SHC-hosted Black Routes Symposium were particularly insightful: Dwight McBride, Ann duCille, Joy Ann Williamson, Martha Biondi, Leigh Raiford, and Maurice Stevens. Closer to my home of the last fourteen years, my colleagues at Yale have been enormously helpful at every stage. I don’t have room here to offer the finer details of their contributions, but without their wisdom, interruptions , encouragement, and probing questions this project would be a mere xii / Acknowledgments shadow of itself. For their abiding faith, I thank Elizabeth Alexander, David Blight, Jon Butler, Hazel Carby, Robert Stepto, Paul Gilroy, Jennifer Baszile, Matthew Jacobson, Joe Roach, Paige McGinley, Terri Francis, Glenda Gilmore, Caryl Phillips, Ron Eyerman, Rich Brooks, Dolores Hayden, Adom Getachew, Joshua Guild, Brandon Terry, Grace Leslie, Caitlin Casey, Erin Wood, and Jeffrey Gonda. I also suffered from an embarrassment of riches when it came to research assistance. At various points along the way Jonathan DiMaio, Emily Weissler, Sarah O’Brien, Nate Glasser, Natalie Papillion , Shira Concool, Amanda Branson Gill, and Aurora Edington gave their time, focus, and ideas. Andrew Horowitz deserves special recognition not only for his research assistance but, more importantly, for convincing me that using a first-person voice was critical to the project. Jennifer Parker, another special assistant, answered my queries, helped me wade through a thicket of false starts, and demonstrated an acute sensitivity for tone and execution. As the project moved toward production, Dave Griffin in Yale’s Media and Photographic Services Group offered critical assistance. In Yale’s Offices of the President and Provost I am indebted to Rick Levin, Peter Salovey, Lloyd Suttle, Emily Bakemeier, and Joy McGrath. In the Yale College Dean’s Office, Mary Miller, Joe Gordon, Mark Schenker, and Susan Cahan were consistently enthusiastic in their support. External to Yale, significant help with the project’s completion came from the W. E. B. Du Bois Research Institute (with a special nod to Abby Wolfe) and the Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellowship. When I was in my most intense writing mode, I learned a lot about my project from the special opportunities I had to present various of its sections at workshops. To that end, I must thank Yale’s African American Studies’ Endeavors Colloquium, the American Studies Symposium, the Critical Encounters Series (also housed in American Studies), and the Legal History Forum. Away from New Haven, I am in debt to my hosts at the Duke University Law Center, the Charles H. Warren Center at Harvard, the American Studies Program at Brown, the Centers for African American Studies at Princeton and Wesleyan...


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