The Hip-Hop Fellow is a 78 minute documentary following Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder’s tenure at Harvard University as he teaches ‘The Standards of Hip-Hop’ course, conducts research for his thesis and explores hip-hop’s history, culture and role in academia. The film centers on the emerging significance of incorporating hip-hop studies into the academy and spotlights the scholars and musicians at the forefront of preserving 40 years of hip-hop culture.

Interviewees include Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Kendrick Lamar, Young Guru, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, Phonte, Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Ab-Soul, Rapper Big Pooh & DJ Premier.


On This Day in History June 6, 1966: Activist James Meredith was shot and wounded as he walked along a Mississippi highway to encourage black voter registration.

The article 1966: Black civil rights activist shot from the BBC On This Date 1950-2005 website describes the what happened to Meredith:

The 32-year-old civil rights activist began his solo 220-mile March against Fear yesterday in Memphis and was heading for Jackson to show his fellow black citizens how to stand up to white authority and also to encourage them to register to vote.

At Hernando, Mississippi - 30 miles from his starting point - he saw an armed man aim at him and dived to the ground, but he was shot three times. Bleeding from the head, shoulder and leg he shouted: “Oh my God.”

FBI agents and reporters who were following the march witnessed the ambush.

An ambulance took him to hospital where doctors later said his wounds were not serious.

Though shot, Meredith’s wounds were not serious enough to stop his march. His being shot brought awareness to the goals of his march which was the encouragement of black people to register to vote. Aubrey James Norvell confessed to the shooting and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Time seems to have somewhat embittered Meredith to his role in the civil rights movement. In the article James Meredith, Central Figure In Ole Miss Integration, Reflects On 50th Anniversary, Resents ‘Civil Rights’ Moniker (PHOTOS) by EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS from the Huffington Post dated October 01, 2012 Meredith is quoted:

James Meredith is a civil-rights icon who hates the term “civil rights.”

It’s as if civil rights were somehow set apart from – well, rights.

“When it comes to my rights as an American citizen, and yours, I am a triumphalist and an absolutist. Anything less is an insult,” said the black man who 50 years ago inflamed the anger of white Mississippi by quietly demanding admission to the state’s segregated flagship university.

The article goes further into Meredith’s point of view:

Yet he says he doesn’t plan to participate in the university’s commemoration of his history-making enrollment, which prompted a state-federal standoff, sparked deadly mob violence and ultimately ended the university’s official policy of racial segregation.

The university says Meredith has been invited to take part in events to mark the anniversary, including a walk that student leaders will take Monday to retrace his first day on campus.

Meredith says he doesn’t see the point.

“I ain’t never heard of the French celebrating Waterloo,” he told The Associated Press. “I ain’t never heard of the Germans celebrating the invasion of Normandy, or … the bombing and destruction of Berlin. I ain’t never heard of the Spanish celebrating the destruction of the Armada.”

Asked to clarify, Meredith said: “Did you find anything 50 years ago that I should be celebrating?”

The article also states:

Meredith writes that although people consider him a “civil rights hero,” that’s not how he sees himself: “I’ve always found the rhetoric of mainstream civil rights leaders and organizations to be far too timid, accommodationist and gradualist. It always seemed to me that they behaved like meek and gentle supplicants begging the oppressor for a few crumbs of justice, for a few molecules of citizenship rights.”


Meredith is now memorialized by a bronze statue near the University of Mississippi’s main administrative building. Yet he calls it “hideous,” and wants it destroyed.

Meredith says the monument glosses over the magnitude of Mississippi’s resistance to his exercise of what should have been recognized as his obvious, inherent rights as an American citizen.

It was, he said, a war.

“Mississippi has so humiliated me – they ain’t never acknowledged that there was a war,” Meredith said.

Chancellor Dan Jones says the university won’t destroy the statue, which was dedicated in 2006.

A professor at Princeton University wrote about her arrest this weekend for what she said was a three-year-old parking ticket, sparking debate on social media between those who see it as an example of racist behavior by police and others who believe it was an overreaction to a minor incident.

Her account tapped into the national conversation over police treatment of black people that has led to protests, including demonstrations at Princeton and many other colleges.

Imani Perry, a professor of African American studies at Princeton who earned her doctorate and law degrees at Harvard, told this story online:

This story shows us that education, position, power, style, etc. are not protection from bad policing. This is sad but let’s accept the ugly truth - the color of cop’s victim determine the further actions the cop will take. 
I Stand With Perry because the idea that Black women academics are strong and the sum of books and degrees but have no feelings is wrong.


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In 1987, more than 400 protesters marched at University of California, Berkeley, to call for the creation of a graduate program in African American Studies. November 6, 1987.

African American students at University of California, Berkeley, demand a graduate-level program in the Afro-American/Ethnic Studies department. Despite a concurrent weakening of institutional support for affirmative action in higher education, UC Berkeley students pressed forward on a multicultural agenda. In 1986, a student-led movement successfully convinced the Regents of the University of California to fight apartheid by divesting three billion dollars in their endowment and retirement stock portfolio of companies doing business with South Africa. A Ph.D. program in African Diaspora Studies was approved for African American Studies until 1996.
Texas Senator Dan Patrick, R-Houston: Stop Senate Bill 1128

Senate Bill 1128 is a bill by which college courses in Mexican American history and African American history would not count towards a college degree in Texas public universities. We must stop this bill because college courses that teach about Mexican American history and African American history teach undergraduate students from a critical standpoint; students understand the meaningful contributions from individuals of color that help make this state and our country a great one. Further, students are given a multicultural educational perspective that not only underscores inclusiveness, dismantles stereotypes, and provides an opportunity for students of all racial backgrounds to collaborate towards social justice. 

Followers, please take time to sign this important petition. Ethnic studies are indispensable to the liberation and empowerment of all PoC.

The Lost Cities of Africa
by Basil Davidson

“Combining archeological evidence and scholarly research, Davidson traces the exciting development of the rich kingdoms of the lost cities of Africa, fifteen hundred years before European ships first came to African shores.”

( I have issues with the title but this is a very good book)
Black Classics Scholars, an Untold Story | BU Today | Boston University
Portraits of pioneering intellectuals on exhibit at Howard Thurman Center

“You show me a Negro who can parse Greek and Latin, and I will consider the possibility that he’s a human being.”
         - John C. Calhoun, Southern defender of slavery, served as a senator, vice president, and secretary of state

An extremely important exhibition at Boston University, opening on MLK day.
Grad Students Respond to Riley Post on African-American Studies

As graduate students in Northwestern University’s department of African-American studies, we were thrilled with the informative and important article by Stacey Patton for The Chronicle of Higher Education that looked at the state of our discipline through the lens of an important academic conference bringing together the 11 African-American studies doctoral programs together for the first time.

So imagine our surprise when almost two weeks after The Chronicle’s original article appeared, The Chronicle’s Web site published a lazy and vitriolic hit piece by blogger Naomi Schaefer Riley that summarily dismisses our academic work while debasing us as something less than “legitimate scholars.” Riley then holds up our research as the reason African American Studies as a discipline should be “eliminated.”

Instead of taking her own advice given to her readers to “just read the dissertations,” Riley displays breathtaking arrogance and gutless anti-intellectualism by drawing such severe conclusions about our work and African-American studies as a whole based on four or five sentence synopses of our dissertation projects.  In fact, Riley has never read our dissertations, as they are in process.  Nor has she read a chapter or even an abstract of our work, but that does not stop her from a full throttle attack on our scholarship and credibility.

When Rick Santorum took his failed campaign for the Republican nomination for President to Iowa, he invoked blacks on welfare as a campaign issue—in a state where African-Americans make up only two percent of the population.  He said, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

When Newt Gingrich had trouble drumming up interest in his failed political campaign, he began referring to President Barack Obama as the “food stamp president” and then told the NAACP that he wanted to address their convention to counsel, “why the African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.”

One can only assume that in a bid to not be “out-niggered” by her right-wing cohort, Riley found some black women graduate students to beat up on.  Despite her attempts to silence us personally, and indeed the discipline as a whole, her exhortations confirm the need for the vigorous study and investigation of black life in the United States and beyond.

Riley describes our work as driven by “conspiracy theories,” “liberal hackery,” and “left-wing victimization claptrap” all in an attempt to deny the persistence of racism in American society.  Her racial-justice calendar ends in 1963, the year before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and two years before the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.  According to Riley’s calendar, the legislative fruit of the southern Civil Rights Movement meant the end of American racism in any institutional capacity.  Thus Riley, in a betrayal of her own bigotry, declares that there are “some fundamental problems in black culture that cannot be blamed on white people,” while at the same time imploring us to stop “blaming the white man.”

As black people living in the United States we do not need conspiracy theories or white bogie men to explain the disparities that separate and distinguish the life chances of white people compared to those of African Americans, even with a black president sitting in the White House.  We understand that these conditions are driven and shaped by racism and real white men who exercise power and influence in the economic, social and political institutions that govern this nation.  Before the dirt has fully come to rest on the grave of Trayvon Martin, black men and women, in the academy or outside of it, have never needed Harvard educated white women to lecture us about the conditions in the communities we live in—and we certainly do not need it now.

Our work is not about victimization; it is about liberation.  Liberating the history, culture and politics of our people from the contortions and distortions of a white supremacist framework that has historically denied our agency and subjectivity as active participants in the making of the world we live in.

For the past 40 years, black studies has been instrumental in transforming higher education into a more inclusive, competitive, and rigorous intellectual enterprise. This is a fact. The contributions are irrefutable. But the extent to which Riley chose to assail black studies and the scholarship of black-studies doctoral students is indicative of the desperate tactics commonly used by media pundits.  What is she so afraid of?

Finally, shame on The Chronicle of Higher Education.  As students we welcome the vigorous interrogation and examination of our work that comes with life in the academy. We do not welcome smug attacks by lazy bloggers, in your employment, who resort to racial caricature in a pitiful attempt to drum up controversy and interest in an otherwise underwhelming and pedestrian career. Riley’s rant is typical matter for personal blogs and anonymous postings in comment sections. The Chronicle’s complicity in Riley’s anti-intellectualism and the pernicious attack on black scholars and black culture is what is most offensive. It is revealing that such an esteemed publication would abandon its journalistic and academic standards.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
La Tasha B. Levy
Ruth Hays

The Assassination of the Black Male Image

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

“A compelling expose of the truth behind society’s racial and sexual stereotypes of black men, this book offers a wide historical perspective and insights into such recent racially charged events as the Clarence Thomas hearings, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the Million Man March. Hutchinson brilliantly counters the image of black men as a population entrenched in crime, drugs, and violence.”

I’m very proud of these 5. These are 5 young Black adults who have pursued their academic careers in African American Studies. For the record, they are receiving their Masters in this field. They are using the work that they have done to contribute and help liberate Black people all around the world. Some of them want to focus on helping Black children, some want to focus on Black people in East Asia, some want to focus on Black people in the Cayman Islands… But these wonderful people are willing to do the academic, community as spiritual work to help liberate and educate Black people. People ask people in Black Studies, “what can you do with that degree?” whether it’s a BA, an MA, or a Ph. D. You have your answer now- CHANGE THE WORLD, LIBERATE BLACK PEOPLE and HELP THE WORLD BECOME HUMANE. I’m proud to call these people friends and I love them. Me being a member of your TU Af Am family is very proud of you. Love you. YOU ARE WHAT BLACK EXCELLENCE LOOKS LIKE.

On This Day in History October 3, 1904: With a $1.50 to her name, Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) opens the doors to the Daytona Literacy and Industrial School for Training Negro Girls in Daytona Beach, Florida. Faced with a lack of funds, substandard facilities and the threat of the Ku Klux Klan, Bethune was able to transform the school that started out in a dilapidated cottage to the institiute of higher learning known as Bethune-Cookman University.

For Further Reading:

Nobody Knows My Name
by James Baldwin

“Told with Baldwin’s characteristically unflinching honesty, this collection of illuminating, deeply felt essays examines topics ranging from race relations in the United States to the role of the writer in society, and offers personal accounts of Richard Wright, Norman Mailer and other writers. ”

Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology

External image
 edited by Manning Marable and Leith Mullings

This anthology of black writers traces the evolution of African-American perspectives throughout American history, from the early years of slavery to the end of the 20th century. The essays, manifestos, interviews, and documents assembled here, contextualized with critical commentaries from Marable and Mullings, introduce the reader to the character and important controversies of each period of black history. The selections represent a broad spectrum of ideology. Conservative, radical, nationalistic, and integrationist approaches can be found in almost every period, yet there have been striking shifts in the evolution of social thought and activism. The editors judiciously illustrate how both continuity and change affected the African-American community in terms of its internal divisions, class structure, migration, social problems, leadership, and protest movements. They also show how gender, spirituality, literature, music, and connections to Africa and the Caribbean played a prominent role in black life and history.


On This Day in History October 2, 1967: In a continuation of my post of August 30th, was sworn in as an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court. Marshall became the 96th Supreme Court Justice and the first African-American to serve on the high court. Marshall would serve on the Supreme Court until he stepped down in October 1991.

For Further Reading: