Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar was raised in Los Angeles, California and graduated with honors, and received his BA in history from Morehouse College. He earned his MA, and Ph.D. in U.S. history with a minor in African Studies from Indiana University. Since 1997 he has taught at the University of Connecticut where he is Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Popular Music. Prior to this role, he served as the UConn’s Vice Provost for Diversity and Chief Diversity Officer, (2012-2014), Associate Dean for the Humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, (2009-2012), and Director of the Institute for African American Studies, (2003-2009).

Dr. Ogbar's current research focuses on various facets of 20th century African American history. He has addressed academic groups in five continents and the Caribbean, and published articles on subjects as varied as the hip-hop generation, the Black Power movement, public policy and mass incarceration, the Harlem Renaissance/New Negro Movement, and civil rights. He has been invited to write for the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” and The Daily Beast, among other publications.  

Prof. Ogbar has received several awards and honors including membership in the Phi Beta Kappa international honor society. He was awarded a research fellowship at Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, where he completed his book manuscript, Black Power: Radical Politics and African American Identity (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004), a winner of an “Outstanding Academic Title” from Choice Magazine, (2005). Prof. Ogbar was a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, while working on his second book manuscript, which is on hip hop. He was a visiting fellow at the University of Miami’s Africana Studies program, where he continued work on his book, Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap, (University Press of Kansas, 2007). It is the winner of the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize from the Northeast Black Studies Association (2008). Ogbar is also editor of The Civil Rights Movement (Houghton Mifflin, 2003). His book, The Harlem Renaissance Revisited: Politics, Arts and Letters, an edited volume, was published in 2010 by the Johns Hopkins University Press. In 2018 he released Keywords for African American Studies (New York University Press), with co-editors Erica R. Edwards and Roderick A. Ferguson. In January 2005 Black Issues in Higher Education (Currently Diverse Issues in Higher Education) identified him as one of ten national “Stand out Scholars” in its annual special issue on rising stars in academia. In 2007 he was featured as one of six national “Movers and Shakers Under 40” by Trumpet newsmagazine and also inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences learned society. In 2017-2018, Prof. Ogbar was awarded a research fellowship at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute, where he continued work on his book on a social, political history of Atlanta.