Top Down: The Ford Foundation, Black Power, and the Reinvention of Racial Liberalism

By Karen Ferguson | Go to book overview

Acknowledgments

This book has been very long in coming. In fact I can trace its genesis all the way back to 1990, when I first read about the Ford Foundation’s engagement with black power. That original spark of curiosity about this unlikely relationship ignited a flame that still burns bright, fueled by all of the support I have received over the years.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada underwrote this project, both through seed funding administered through Simon Fraser University and through a multiyear Standard Research Grant. That money paid for my research travel and also supported a remarkable group of undergraduate and graduate students who helped make this project what it is. Joshua Dougherty, Andrea Gill, John Munro, Ian Rocksborough Smith, and Michelle Wood all conveyed intelligence, diligence, and passion for the history of race in the United States, which stimulated my interest and resolve and helped create a vibrant community of young Americanists in Vancouver, Canada.

In New York City I was greeted at the Ford Foundation by its exceptional archivist Alan Divack and the rest of the archive staff, Idelle Nissilla, Anthony Maloney, and Jonathan Green. Without their generous interest and support and the Foundation’s openness to researchers, I could never have written this book. after the Foundation transferred its records to the Rockefeller Archive Center and into the hands of its capable and professional staff, Lucas Buresch provided superb service at a distance during the last phases of this project. I found similar munificence at a very different institution, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Despite the challenges they face every day working in the New York Public Library system, my experience working with the staff in the Schomburg’s research collections was never less than exceptional. I would like in particular to thank manuscript archivist Andre Elizee, whose vast knowledge of the Schomburg’s holdings and of African American history introduced me to important new sources and ways of thinking about my subject. James Briggs Murray let me loose in the Schom-

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