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By: Nicholyn Hutchinson

Archival Collection of Hip Hop Artist Tupac Shakur at the AUC Robert W. Woodruff Library

Passionate. Controversial. Compelling. Influential. These are only a few words that describe Tupac Shakur, a multiplatinum artist who still remains a prominent figure in hip hop since his death, already 17 years ago. Today, hip hop scholars have the opportunity to take a step into Shakur’s creative mind through viewing his personal materials, now available to the public for research at the Archives Research Center of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) Robert W. Woodruff Library in Georgia.

Representing a partnership between the AUC Woodruff Library, the Shakur family, Amaru Entertainment, Inc., and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection opened on September 13, 2011, marking the 15th anniversary of his death. Spanning a period from 1969 to 2008, the Shakur Collection includes song lyrics, drafts, poems, idea notes, track lists and video treatments, as well as manuscripts by Shakur family members and members of the rap groups Dramacydal and the Outlawz. Memorabilia, correspondence, fan mail, media clippings and publicity materials are also included. In the collection, hip hop scholars and enthusiasts can see his creative process, his artistic influences, and the political and social relevance of his literary and musical works.

Born in East Harlem, New York, Shakur rose to fame in the early 1990s as the fronting rapper for the hip-hop group Digital Underground and went on to become one of the most significant cultural icons of the hip hop generation. During his career, Shakur released 5 albums and appeared in 4 motion pictures. 10 albums, numerous compilations and 4 feature films have been released posthumously, including Tupac: Resurrection, which received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Documentary (Feature)” in 2005.

To promote teaching and research of the Shakur Collection, the AUC Woodruff Library held a two-day conference last year, titled “Hip Hop, Education, and Expanding the Archival Imagination,” that explored Shakur’s life and work as well as hip hop archives and studies. Music scholars, educators, students and artists from around the country convened for the event. Featured speakers included Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University; Dr. Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Vice Provost for Diversity and Professor of History at the University of Connecticut; Kevin Powell, author and political activist; and Dr. Akinyele K. Umoja, associate professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies at Georgia State University.

The Shakur Collection joins other notable collections housed at the AUC Woodruff Library’s Archives Research Center, including the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, the Voter Education Project Collection, the Walter Rodney Papers, and the Countee Cullen-Harold Jackman Memorial Collection.

“Our Library has rich archives of primary resources, and the addition of the Shakur Collection has gained the interest of scholars across the country,” said Loretta Parham, CEO and Library Director. “We’re particularly pleased to see how the excitement surrounding Tupac’s materials encourages students to participate in undergraduate research. The collection also serves as an entryway for them to learn about archives and the importance of preserving original documents that are treasures of our history.”

Visit http://www.auctr.edu/tas/tasc/index.html or contact archives@auctr.edu to learn more about the Tupac Amaru Shakur Collection.

Information and Captions for Photos
The Archives Research Center of the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library.

Conference attendees view a special exhibit of Shakur materials, including backstage passes and one of his notebooks.

Credit for photos: Photo courtesy of Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library
Posted By: Elynor Moss
Wednesday, October 2nd 2013 at 4:26PM
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