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Hiphop Archive and Research Institute Director: Marcyliena Morgan

From the Director

Dr. Marcyliena MorganI grew up in a working class black community where everyone's mother, father, aunt and uncle read books (or wanted to read), talked to each other about what was happening in the world and cared about their community. I'm not talking about an ideal neighborhood - far from it. Most of the those adults worked hard for little or no pay, struggled to support their families, were poorly educated and dealt with the meanest forms of racism everyday. It affected them. As hard as it was, they weren't weak, but strong. And no matter what was happening to them, the thing that my community never forgave was 'not knowing.'

There was a time when if you acted like you wanted to know something and that you should know things important to you, racists and self-haters would get angry, try to hurt you and say "You think you're too good." They might take away your job, hurt you and your family and destroy your reason for living. Everyone took great pride in making sure they knew about things. You couldn't touch my neighborhood when they could finally, openly reveal how much they knew. No one could make you not read, not think, not question, not discuss, and not speak up. There were still consequences when you were informed, but we knew that at the very least, the one thing we could do was to know what in the hell was going on. Fighting to know and control your life was the beginning of everything. I want that community back. I think Hiphop is that community.

Marcyliena Morgan
Founding Director, Hiphop Archive and Research Institute


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