It is humbling to think of all the people and institutions that helped me write this book. First, I feel obliged to thank and honor the people I have written about, in particular the black residents of Washington of the 1860s and 1870s. I hope I have managed to say something truthful and useful about the world they inhabited and the aspirations they held dear. I am also deeply indebted to historians of Washington who came before me and whose work, both published and unpublished, charted the territory and therefore made this book possible.
If I am a historian today, it is because of the company I kept at the University of Michigan, where I was lucky to be part of a wonderful cohort of faculty and students in history and related fields. I am particularly grateful to June Howard and George J. Sánchez for ushering me into the American Culture Program and for their dedication to making it an extraordinary place for graduate study. Elsa Barkley Brown inspired me and believed in me while at the same time asking the hardest questions. Terrence McDonald taught a superb course on American liberalism in history and historiography and became a provocative interlocutor and staunch supporter. Other faculty also encouraged and guided me, and I especially thank Frances Aparicio, Sandra Gunning, Kristen Hass, Earl Lewis, Michele Mitchell, Hannah Rosen, David Scobey, Richard Cándida Smith, Carroll SmithRosenberg, and Ann Stoler. For affirming that scholarship and friendship could be knit together, and for moments of transcendence that included popping popcorn in a graduate seminar on poststructuralism, I warmly thank fellow former Ann Arbor-ites Kimberly Alidio, Adrian Burgos, Barbara Burglund, Doris Dixon, Paul Eiss, Libby Garland, Tom Guglielmo, Daryl Maeda, April Mayes, John McKiernan-González, Aims McGuinness, Karen R. Miller, Natalia Molina, Michele Morales, David Pedersen, Anna Pegler-Gordon, and Alexander Shashko.
When I decided to write about Washington, Howard Gillette, James Horton, Lois Horton, Alan Lessoff, and James A. Miller welcomed me warmly into the fold. Mary Beth Corrigan became a friend and colleague, and Michele Gates-Moresi and Don Bramen became writing partners. I am thankful for the good counsel of U.S. Senate Historian Donald Ritchie; Felicia Bell, Lauren Borchard, and Donald Kennon of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society; and Rodney Ross, Joseph Schwarz, and Reginald Washington at the National Archives. I owe a special debt to Robert Ellis of the National Archives, who has developed a remarkable knowledge of the District of Columbia court records and who always had the time to answer an email or investigate a question. I also thank archivists