I AM FORTUNATE TO have family, friends, students, and colleagues who have been helpful to the development of this book. The idea for this project evolved from a marathon discussion with colleagues who study African American politics during meetings of the American Political Science Association in 2008. I also got ideas for this book during exchanges with the exceptionally engaging students at Columbia who took my undergraduate seminar on African American Politics in the fall of 2008 and my undergraduate seminar on Twentieth-Century African American Political Thought in the spring of 2009. I am particularly indebted to Claytoya Tugwell whose enthusiasm over the course of both seminars kept me on my toes and helped me think about many arguments for this book.
Conversations with Marcellus Blount, Anthea Butler, Cathy Cohen, Belinda Edmondson, Georgia Ellard, Curtis Foy, Farah Griffin, Charlene Harris, Randall Kennedy, Robert Lieberman, Naomi Long, Darrell Moore, Ernest Morrell, Mike Muse, Alondra Nelson, Courtney Nottage, Andrea Simpson, Valeria SinclairChapman, Claude Steele, Dorothy Steele, Kendall Thomas, and Dorian Warren helped me to more critically analyze my arguments. I would also like to thank Richard Iton, Todd Shaw, and an anonymous reviewer for Oxford University Press for providing