Many wise and supportive people have contributed to the making of this book to whom I am deeply grateful.
To the nine African American women who generously shared their life histories, I offer my deepest gratitude. Your unforgettable stories are now a part of me and my life is forever changed and enriched by your experiences.
This book began as my dissertation and the thoughtful comments of William Kornblum and Hester Eisenstein early on proved invaluable. But Barbara Katz Rothman, my dissertation chairperson, mentor, and friend continues to provide unwavering support, guidance, and a belief in me for which I am sincerely grateful.
For their help in reading, providing needed dialogue, and pointing me in the right direction with their suggestions and ideas, I would like to thank Patricia Yancey Martin, Clifton Gail Mitchell, Marie Littlejohn, Beth Richie, Natalie Sokoloff, Heather Dalmage, Angelique Harris, and Rossetta Morris.
I thank Catherine Pierce and Nadine Neusville of the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women for their untiring and relentless efforts to do the right thing in the face of tremendous challenge.
I am grateful to my editor, Kristi Long, who immediately got what I was trying to achieve by guiding me in a way that respected me as an author and the women’s stories as important text. To the anonymous reviewers who helped to shape this book and the staff at Rutgers University Press who guided the manuscript through the production process.
And finally, for simply being my friends and close confidants, I thank Linda Goode Bryant, Sandra Morales-DeLeon, Dana Ain Davis, Angela Dews, Priscilla Simons, and Dahlia Norman, all of whom had no doubts that I could write this book.