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Born in San Jose, California, Jamal Ratchford (Dr. J) earned a B.A. from Morehouse College (2004), and an M.A. (2006) and Ph.D. (2011) from Purdue University. He currently works as a jointly appointed assistant Professor in the Department of History, and the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies Program. Ratchford specializes in African American history, sport studies, and twentieth century U.S. history.
His work explores synergies and discontinuities between sport and long black freedom movements. He challenges myths of integration in sport as a positive good that best reinforces American exceptionalism. His work has been cited by The Guardian, NPR, and Salon. He has earned fellowships through the National Endowment for the Humanities at Harvard University, and most recently the Kentucky Historical Society. He is revising multiple original works for publication.
Ratchford is a diehard Kentucky basketball fan, and proud father of Lara and Alex.