In writing Prove It On Me, I have benefited from the great wealth of scholarly mentorship, personal support, and financial assistance I have received throughout my education and work at multiple institutions. At George Washington University, new colleagues and mentors William Becker, Nemata Blyden, Linda Levy Peck, Eric Arnesen, and Jenna Weisman Joselit have offered much-needed advice about the review and publication processes at crucial moments. I thank the dean’s office of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences and the History Department at George Washington University for allowing me a leave during my first year of employment which was absolutely necessary for the completion of the manuscript.
I spent that leave year supported by a Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies under Tera Hunter’s mentorship. Ever since Tera agreed to chair the panel I organized for the 2005 Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, she has been a valued mentor offering advice and support on everything from navigating the job market to replying to readers’ reports. She read various versions and pieces of this book throughout its evolution, and it is much better for her keen eye and hard questions. Tera is one of a group of women scholars across the academy, including Ula Taylor, Nan Woodruff, Nancy Bercaw, Sue Grayzel, Sharon Holland, Estelle Freedman, Michelle Scott, and Jennifer Baszile, whose mentorship has sustained me and facilitated my growth as a scholar. Each offered a word of advice and a warm personal interest in my success at crucial moments, and I thank them for these significant gifts.
The three years I spent at the University of Mississippi enriched my understanding of race politics and my scholarship in innumerable ways. For the historian, Mississippi’s social matrix of race, class, nostalgia, repression, and modern aspiration presents a particularly fascinating enigma. Colleagues and friends in the History and African American Studies departments joined me in puzzling over it. Nancy Bercaw, Angela Hornsby-Gutting, Ethel Young-Minor, and Sue Grayzel provided reassurance and advice that first year as I learned to lecture while also maintaining my research and