First, I must thank God for bringing me this far. Next, I thank my family
for supporting me, from ces 110x in the Bronx all the way to the tenure
track at the University of Pittsburgh. My grandmother Nene; my mother,
Diane Covington, and father, Roger Dixon; my siblings: Tavi, Dana, Nyesha,
Brandon, Michelle, Taurean, and Tristan; all my aunts and uncles, especially
Sony, Audrey, Danny, Tony, Shirley- Mae, JoAnn, Abby, Duke, and Dionne; all
my many cousins, especially Chris and Leisa; my mother- in-law, Teeta, and
sister- in-law Dell—indeed, the whole village.
I must thank many people who have contributed to the book’s develop-
ment: my dissertation committee at the University of Michigan: Elisha
Renne, Kelly Askew, Tata Mbala Nkanga, Maxwell Owusu, and Julius Scott.
I also thank the Department of Anthropology, especially Laurie Marx, and
the Department (then Center) for Afroamerican and African Studies, espe-
cially Kevin Gaines, Mamadou Diouf, Devon Adjei, Beth James, and Chuck
Phillips. My fellowship at the Institute for the Humanities enabled me to
complete the writing of my dissertation. I am grateful to all my colleagues
(past and present) in the Department of Africana Studies at the University of
Pittsburgh: Brenda, Jerry, Christel, Michael, Oronde, Michele, Cecil, Joseph,
Kwame, and Vernell for their support.
There are so many people that impacted and facilitated my research in the
Congo: Tata Fu- Kiau Bunseki, may he rest in peace; Professor Kimpianga
Mahaniah—a great resource and support to me both in Luozi and Kinshasa.
Ne Nkamu Luyindula—thank you for the Kikongo, drumming, and dance
lessons and the late- night debates. In Luozi: Pere Blaise and the Catholic mis-
sion; the Luyobisa family (Pa Luyobisa, Ma Suzanne, and the children); the