I wish to take a moment and acknowledge three influences whose work has truly informed this project:
He is my model. I constantly consult my copy of Working, hoping that I can create oral-history essays as compelling as his.
|Anna Deavere Smith
For over ten years, I’ve been inspired by her work. Every few months, I read through Fires in the Mirror,her unique accounting of the Crown Heights riots in 1991. She interviewed different folks connected to the riots—Black, Jewish, Anglo-shaped monologues from those pieces, and then performed them on the stage. I have never seen her perform these pieces. But I have read the monologues many many times, and each time, I am blown away by their power.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
I am always in awe of what he has done to chronicle Black history and the Black present, and the role he has in imagining the Black future. I took much inspiration from the oral-history essays in America Behind the Color Line: Dialogues with African-Americans .