Haitian Immigrants in Black America: A Sociological and Sociolinguistic Portrait has not always been a book. It began with an idea that entered my mind in the summer of 1993. This idea had to do with the notion of ethnicity from the point of view of Haitian immigrants. A special thanks is due to sociologist Rutledge M. Dennis who, at a very early stage, helped me identify some of the relevant literature from a sociological perspective, and encouraged me throughout the various phases of this project. My original idea was soon to take the form of a research proposal that I submitted to the Research Council of the University of Missouri -- Columbia for release time and financial assistance. Two of my colleagues in the Department of Romance Languages, Marvin Lewis and Edward Mullen, read the proposal, and they provided me with their insightful comments. In fact, throughout my career as a junior faculty member, these particular individuals have unselfishly mentored me and have showed me the ropes of scholarship. In many ways, this work and my success thus far with academic life are the results of their valuable counsel. In addition, Marvin read and helped me improve the first chapter of the book that I sent out for consideration for publication. I am also grateful to KC Morrison, Vice Provost for Minority Affairs and Faculty Development, for his comments and suggestions which contributed to making the proposal more competitive. I also want to thank the Research Council for providing me with the research funds necessary to collect the data upon which this book is based, and for granting me a research leave for academic year 1994-1995.
The data were collected in New York City, and various individuals who contributed to the success of my fieldwork among the Haitian community deserve special recognition. First and foremost, I owe a debt of gratitude to Carole Joseph, Director of the Haitian Technical Assistance Center (HABETAC) at the City College of the City University of New York, who made it possible for me to enjoy visiting faculty status at this institution, which entitled me to