I want to thank, first, the contributors and interviewees who are included in this text. It is an honor to be able to present their valuable contributions here. I want to thank R. C. Davis, Neustadt Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, editor of World Literature Today and the managing editor of this Ethnic Studies Series. He is a wonderful friend and colleague, and I can always count on his support and encouragement. Thanks go also to Mairead McElligott, Jackie Jones, and Daniel Bourner of Edinburgh University Press for their assistance in helping this work come to fruition. The support for this text given to me by my staff at the University of Oklahoma African and African American Studies Program (AFAM) is greatly appreciated. I am blessed to have them in my life every day! My sincere thanks go to Sharri Coleman, Ruth Gomez, Patience Sijuola Ogunsanya, and Monica Flippen-Wynn. I want to also thank University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren and Dean Paul Bell, College of Arts & Sciences for entrusting me with the directorship of AFAM and for their support and belief in the importance of the program. I am extremely indebted, of course, to the students and the faculty members of the AFAM program. They inspire me every day and serve as constant reminders of why this work is so vital to the academy. My deepest appreciation goes to my husband Tim Davidson and our sons, Zach and Corey, for the love, support, encouragement, and validation they give me every day (and to Zach for his cover design), to my sister, Aileen Franssen, who was my earliest role model, and to my mum and dad, Elizabeth and J. James Carlisle, who first taught me about all that is righteous and matters in life.
Jeanette R. Davidson