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Celebrating the Origins of Hip Hop

Pioneers of Hip Hop Bring New Cornell University Library Collection to Life

Ithaca, NY - Afrika Bambaataa and other pioneers of hip hop will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to speak at a two-day conference celebrating Cornell University Library's acquisition of Born in the Bronx: The Legacy and Evolution of Hip Hop, a collection that documents the early days of hip hop with recordings, photographs, posters and more.

Events on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 will include music, performances and lectures by several of hip hop's founders, and roundtable discussions led by prominent speakers from the hip hop and academic communities. Cornell University Library will host the event, which will highlight the one-of-a-kind historical materials.

"By paying tribute to those who laid the foundation, we tell our own history," Bambaataa said. "Preserving hip hop's early years will help future generations understand the places they come from."

Bambaataa will address the symposium on Friday, Oct. 31 as part of a roundtable discussion featuring other hip hop pioneers such as Grandmaster Caz, Grandwizzard Theodore, Popmaster Fable, Tony Tone, Disco Wiz and Kool Lady Blue. Select artists will also perform in Alice Statler Hall that evening.

Noted hip hop historians will speak at the event, including authors Jeff Chang and Mark Anthony Neal, associate professor of black popular culture at Duke University. Hip hop photographer Joe Conzo will present his historic images of the Bronx during the conference. The event is free and open to the public.

"We want the community at large to celebrate hip hop's contributions to American culture through a better understanding of its origins, which are the focus of this unique collection," said Katherine Reagan, curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts at Cornell University Library.

Johan Kugelberg, a collector, curator and writer in the field of popular culture, donated the materials to the Library. Kugelberg's book, Born in the Bronx, chronicles the evolution of hip hop in the South Bronx, beginning in the early 1970s. The 2,000-piece collection includes the archive of Bronx photographer Joe Conzo, vinyl records and other recordings, handmade party and club fliers, and custom-painted textiles by artist Buddy Esquire.

Visit for more information.

About Cornell University

One of the leading academic research libraries in the United States, Cornell University Library is a highly valued partner in teaching, research and learning at Cornell University. The Library offers cutting-edge programs and a full spectrum of services, rare books and manuscripts and a growing network of digital resources. The Library's outstanding collections -- from medieval manuscripts to hip hop and from ancient Chinese texts to comic books -- preserve the past and pave the way for future scholarship. To learn more about Cornell University Library, visit
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