Black History Month: “Hamilton” Puts a Hip Hop Spin on American History

Alexander Hamilton’s name might not ring bells immediately, or to some he’s simply the dude on the $10 bill. If you’re a history buff you’re probably itching in your seat to point out that he was among the conglomerate known as the founding fathers.


An orphan, he grew up in the West Indies, and later migrated to the country and later became the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Now Hamilton’s story is getting a hip hop twist from actor Lin-Manuel Miranda (“In the Heights”), who gives his story and the founding fathers a contemporary makeover in an off-broadway adaptation at the Public Theater in New York. Hamilton went on to become the lead writer of the Federalist Papers. He was also the center of one of the country’s first political scandals after being blackmailed by his mistress’s husband, and eventually joined into the abolitionist movement. Miranda said the Hamilton story reminded him of Tupac, because of Alexander’s poignant writings in contrast with his conflicted personal life; dude also lost his life by way of a fatal shooting.


As left field as it seems, it’s interesting to see an art form that’s been spawned out of the Black experience used to convey a story that took place during the darkest years of Black life in America. The play attempts to give a modern take on the era, with a diverse cast, meant to reflect today’s society – all making for a very nuanced look a Hamilton’s story.


You can check out the play up until May 3 at New York’s Public Theater.

Photos: Joan Marcus of


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