Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Search Term: Oxford African American Studies Center

Black History Month
Anna Murray Douglass

The enigmatic first wife of Frederick Douglass, Anna Murray Douglass (1813 – 1822) has been misunderstood and misrepresented by historians as well as by her husband’s associates since he first rose to fame in 1842. Her early life, including her birth, family and parentage, remain thinly documented.

Read More

Origins of hip hop: “If I stop, I’ll die.”

Today we’ll look at the spoken word roots of hip hop by examining the life and career of one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time; Richard Pryor. Here is the entry on Richard Pryor from upcoming eight-volume ‘African American National Biography’.

Read More

Origins of hip hop: Ice-T and “Cop Killer”

In this post, we look at rapper Ice-T, and his influence on the development of hip hop. A prolific and outspoken Rap artist, Ice-T helped pioneer the ‘gangsta’ musical style, in which the turmoil of urban street life is exposed through blunt, explicit lyrics and a bass-heavy, fluid musical style.

Read More

The origins of hip hop: Iceberg Slim

Today, we’ll look at one of the literary forerunners of the hip hop revolution; Iceberg Slim. Slim’s works are marked by a criticism of American justice, devotion to the politics of the Black Panthers, frank language, and a combination of violence and sexuality. They remain influential to this day.

Read More