First, I would like to thank John N. Ingham, who recommended to Greenwood that I be the editor of the Encyclopedia of African American Business History. Also, I owe a special debt of gratitude to Professor David Krugler. When work began on the Encyclopedia in the summer of 1994, David was my research assistant. His work in organizing files, xeroxing, setting up computer programs, handling correspondence, taking telephone inquiries, and locating and even persuading several potential contributors to submit entries was invaluable. Also, he suggested names of potential contributors. During the fall of 1994, when I was away as a Shelby Cullom Davis Fellow at Princeton, and in 1995, when I was on a Fulbright in South Africa, David was the liaison between contributors, Greenwood, and myself. Then when David left to pursue his dissertation research, Cheryl Pettus assumed his duties in filing entries and informing me of correspondence from contributors, and I am deeply thankful to her.
At the same time, the Internet enabled me to maintain communication with some contributors through e-mail. Consequently, I owe a debt of gratitude to the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I was teaching African American history, who provided me with Internet facilities. Since then Professor Bruce Murray, who was chair of the History Department at Wits, and who also provided support in my research on black business in South Africa, has continued his interest and support of my work in African American business history.
I returned to the United States in January 1996, and throughout that year my publication energies were focused on completing my book The History of Black Business in America, which I finished the following January 1997. At that time,