This is a tutorial for CS5 on how to convert to Black and White.
Adjust your picture in ACR - fix any blown area, color cast, etc.
Make sure the background (1) is black. Then chose gradient map (2).
Chose curves layer
Add another curves layer to play with contrast, brightness, etc.
Optional - if you want to make it warm or cool pull down the RGB menu and play with red, green and blue until you get desired color
I love this tutorial on converting to B&W in Gimp, what I like most is it shows several different methods.
GIMP - Converting Color Images to B&W
* Amanda *