Historical Lecture Series

9th historical lecture series with Dr. Woodbine

This year's lecture featured Onaje X.O. Woodbine, a teacher of philosophy and religious studies at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Growing up in Boston’s inner city, Woodbine played on the Yale basketball team and was headed for a career in the NBA. After his sophomore season in 2000, Woodbine left the basketball team to focus and study matters outside of basketball such as philosophy and religion. In a letter he wrote to his coach, Woodbine simply said that he wanted to be "the person I was meant to be."

Black Gods of Asphalt book coverWoodbine’s book, Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball, examines basketball as an urban escape, and explores how, in spite of violence, gangs, and issues at home, Boston’s black men seek physical and spiritual grace through basketball.

Co-sponsored by the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center and the College of Education and Human Ecology Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement.

Supported by the Black Student Association and the African Youth League.


Every year the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center (BNRC) on the African American Male hosts the Historical Lecture Series as a signature program for The Ohio State University's annual United Black World Month celebration. It represents the BNRC’s strong commitment to provide lectures and forums that speak to pertinent matters related to African American males and their place in the world.

At the event, students have the opportunity to network and fellowship with individuals who work on- and off-campus, such as faculty, staff, and community professionals. The relationships created with this gathering enhance students’ academic, career, and leadership development.

First started in 2008, the Historical Lecture has had past guests that have included: New York Times columnist William Rhoden, history professor Leonard Moore, and law professor Michelle Alexander.