Born in East Harlem, New York, Shakur honed his acting and performing skills at the city's 127th Street Repertory Ensemble and the Baltimore School of the Arts in Maryland. He first came to prominence in the early 1990s as a featured rapper for the vocal group Digital Underground and went on to become one of the most significant cultural icons of the hip hop generation. Prior to his untimely death at the age of 25, Shakur had released five record albums and appeared in four motion pictures to great success. Ten albums, numerous compilations and four feature films were all released posthumously, including Tupac, Resurrection,which received an Academy Award nomination for "Best Documentary (Feature)."
More than a decade after his death on September 13, 1996, Shakur remains one of the most influential writers and performers in the hip hop/rap genre and continues to be the top-selling hip hop recording artist of all time, having sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. A prolific writer, Tupac wrote The Rose That Grew From Concrete,when he was only 19 years old. The book contains numerous poems in Tupac's own handwriting and has enjoyed a substantial amount of success selling over 250,000 copies. Select poems from the book will now be included in the collection. There are three more books - Tupac Resurrection, Tupac Legacy and Tupac Remembered which were all published following his death.
Tupac Shakur Collection, now housed within the Woodruff Library's Archives & Special Collections Department, features Shakur's handwritten lyrics and track listings, personal notes, video and film concepts, fan correspondence, promotional materials and other items providing a unique insight into his career and creative genius.
"The Woodruff Library Archives has done a phenomenal job archiving my son's materials," said Afeni Shakur-Davis. "I thank their staff for partnering with my family and the Foundation in helping to make these important documents available in a professional manner that will benefit scholars for years to come."
Currently, Library staff are re-housing the collection's 11 boxes of material into archival boxes and folders, and preparing a finding aid listing the categories and order of items included. A digital (online) finding aid will be prepared to further enhance scholarly access. The Tupac Shakur Collection is expected to be open for research in Fall 2010.
"The Woodruff Library is honored to collaborate with the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation to preserve the artistic legacy of Tupac Shakur," said Loretta Parham, CEO & Library Director. "Mr. Shakur was a multi-dimensional artist who helped define a musical genre, and as the academic library serving four institutions of higher learning, it is our mission, as well as a great privilege, to help promote scholarship and research of his work, and the mechanics of his creative process and the hip hop culture."
The Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center (AUC) serves the collective research and information needs of Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College. The Library's Archives & Special Collections is the repository for historical materials documenting the AUC institutions, as well as manuscript collections and organizational records, including the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection and the Maynard Jackson Mayoral Administrative Records.
In addition to the archival partnership with the Woodruff Library, the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation has recruited some of the nation's top scholars to assemble the Tupac Shakur Secondary School Curriculum, a seventh-12th grade academic curriculum and a college-level reader. In this comprehensive curriculum, the poetry, music and views of Tupac Shakur are used to teach basic hip hop studies units within academic disciplines such as fine arts, history and language arts. This learning tool can be used separately or in conjunction with any state-mandated learning standards curriculum. Both the release of the secondary and college-level curriculums will coincide with the opening for research of The Tupac Shakur Collection at the Woodruff Library in Fall 2010.
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