Tupac's Academic: Works to be Housed at Atlanta University Center Library Wednesday, October 14, 2009 By Amen-Ra Mackey
Sept. 13 marked the 13th anniversary of the death Tupac Shakur. But to this day, his legacy as a rapper, songwriter, actor, record producer, poet, screenwriter and activist, lives on. Next fall, his works will join the papers of Civil Rights Activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the first African American Mayor of Atlanta, Maynard Jackson, at the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff’s library, which serves Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, the Interdenominational Theological Center and Spelman College. Shakur’s mother, Afeni Shakur-Davis, is the main figure behind Atlanta’s Tupac Shakur Foundation which is teaming with the Atlanta University Center to “prepare the rapper’s writings for ‘scholarly research,’“ according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The Tupac Shakur Collections will be located in the Special Collections Department at the Atlanta University Center and currently consists of 11 boxes of Shakur’s hand-written lyrics and track listings, personal notes, video and film concepts, fan approvals, promotional material, and other personal materials that give insight into the thoughts that were running through Shakur’s mind, including a complete overview of his poetry collection, which includes “The Rose That Grew From Concrete.” Some pieces he wrote while only 19. “It’s a wonderful thing,’’ Adrian Carver, communications manager of the Atlanta University Center said in an interview. `It’s exciting. From what I know, Tupac was a seminal figure in the genre of Hip Hop. I’m extremely excited about this process because he was a major influence on the generation of today.” Carver explained the motives behind housing Shakur’s material. “The purpose of our archives is to provide primary resource materials created in a certain time frame,’’ she said. ``We keep them for representation of what was going on at that time period. Right now, we’re going through what is called the organization process, which is basically caring for the papers and putting them in order to house and keep. There’s no need for conservation because his works are fairly recent.” The staff at the Atlanta University Center is eager to house the works. “As an academic library, we enhance and support teaching and learning through books, websites, and technology – electronically and print material,’’ said Carver. ``As far as we know, Shakur never wrote anything pertaining to his career on the computer, therefore allowing us to see everything long hand.’’ Like Carver, Mays junior Courtney Simpson is also excited. “He was a family man,” Simpson said. “He loved his family and was very independent, determined, and dedicated. I would love to go see his original rhymes. I’m sure they’re very educational and open-minded.” However, Benjamin McClendon, also a student, thinks otherwise. “Considering how obscene his lyrics were, I don’t think they should be placed on a college campus,’’ he said. ``I think the students would misunderstand or misinterpret them.” Either way, his lyrics and the rest of his works will be available for research at the AU Center library in the fall of next year, and are sure be resource for any fan of Hip Hop and poetry.