Hall was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1932, he went to Jamaica college an all male secondary school in Kingston. In 1951 Hall won a Rhodes scholarship to Merton college at the university of Oxford where he studied English, his PhD was on Henry James.
“Three months at Oxford persuaded me that it was never my home. I’m not English and I never will be. The life I have lived is one of partial displacement. I came to England as a means of escape, and it was a failure”
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas. The class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the time its ruling intellectual force.
Which explains why the statue of Cecil Rhodes still stands and the KKK founder Alfred Pike stands in Washington with a plaque stating he was a poet. In Washington where there is a high African American population.
“Stuart Hall was one of the few people of colour we saw on television who wasn’t crooning, dancing, or running. He was a kind of rock star for us (black teenage bookworms), a pop icon with brains whose iconic presence on this most public of platforms television, suggested all matter of impossible possibilities”.
Director John Akomfrah
Hall was one of the founding figures in British cultural studies or as it is also called The Birmingham school of cultural studies. Which began in 1963, at Birmingham university. Cultural studies is an approach to studying culture which lies at the intersection between social sciences,sociology and humanity. Hall and the school of cultural studies takes a critical look at culture. Hall like Bill Clinton won his scholarship to Oxford yet Clinton fitted in as he was male, pale and stale and Hall was the antithesis. Thus proves,the statue of Cecil Rhodes has to go as Oxford university will not be seen as an inclusive of all cultures when Rhodes statue still stands.
As David Morley and Bill Schwarz wrote in The Guardian:
As his time in Britain lengthened, so his identifications with blackness deepened. Ambivalent about his relation both to his place of departure and to his place of arrival, he sought to survive the medieval gloom of Oxford by making common cause with the city’s displaced migrant minority. Out of these new attachments, and out of the political cataclysm of 1956 – marked by the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt and by the Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolution – emerged the new left, in which Hall was an influential figure: it provided him with a political home.