This work exemplifies the spirit, value, substance, and intellectual possibilities of our Annual Black Studies Conference convened each year for the last seventeen years at Olive-Harvey College in Chicago, Illinois. This annual gathering of scholars, activists, and persons of myriad experiences meets to assess the dynamics of the milieu that serve as contexts for black life as well as to examine those forces and trends that impact the African American dilemma within the United States. We consistently attempt to provide an appropriate thematic framework wherein a gamut of ideas, models, and strategies can be generated. The success of this mammoth effort has been due to a cross section of faculty, staff, and student volunteers. This has, indeed, been an exercise in self-reliance. It is significant that Lashley and Jackson, the editors of this concise but substantive collection, are long-time contributors to the high level of intellectual discourse that has come to be expected of the annual Olive-Harvey College Conference.
An implicit intent of Black Studies has been to generate a body of practice as well as counteractive knowledge regarding the African American experience and the forces that impinge on it. Black Studies discourse has as its aim an unrelenting evaluation of the truth about the African American experience and the nature of its interaction with the oppressive sociopolitical context that defines its parameters. It is within the context of achieving the broad aims of Black Studies that Lashley and Jackson have made a substantial contribution to the growing body of literature in this field. This work promises to be catalytic in bringing into full public view the quality of intellectual exchange that occurs each year at the Olive- Harvey conference. This exchange has made valuable contributions to the evolving field of Black Studies. By situating transformations in the lives of African Americans within the context of the dynamics of the contemporary