Martin Robison Delany (1812–1885) is a very interesting, engaging, and intriguing character to study. If there is one issue on which most scholars agree, it is that he was truly a complex human being. It is precisely this complexity that made studying and understanding his life challenging. But it is a challenge that I have enjoyed undertaking, one that has tremendously enriched my personal and intellectual life. What I now call my “Delany adventure” has consumed about two decades of my academic career. It has been a life-enriching experience, one that would most definitely have been otherwise but for the help and generosity of numerous individuals and institutions. They all deserve recognition. First, I could never thank my teacher and friend, Craig Simpson, enough for his intellectual guidance. I can only hope that this book reflects some degree of the intellectual excellence that he embodies. Next, I must pay homage to the Delany aficionados (Dorothy Sterling, Victor Ullman, Floyd J. Miller, and Cyril Griffith) for rescuing Delany from historical oblivion and for laying a solid foundation that made this and many other works on Delany possible. No serious interpretation or reinterpretation of Delany can occur without the benefits of the resources they garnered.
My desire to study and understand Delany’s life and struggles has taken me to libraries and archives across North America. I will like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the staffs of the following for giving me unfettered access to the Delany papers and related documents and manuscripts in their collections: the South Caroliniana Research Library of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, especially its former director, Allen Stokes; the South Carolina Department of Archives and History in Columbia, for access to Delany’s Freedmen’s