BP Board

SEATTLE, WA, June 03, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — Maryland archivist and former college lecturer, Melissa Prunty Kemp has been appointed to the board of directors of BlackPast.org at its April meeting. Kemp will now serve a two-year term through December 2026, helping to provide senior management with insight, foresight, and sound governance with specific emphasis in her areas of expertise.

Board Chair Doug Bender who has worked with Ms. Kemp at other nonprofit organizations stated, “Melissa brings much needed depth of expertise and competencies to our board in the form of building out archival strategies and action plans and grant writing for nonprofits. She has a technical proficiency that is hard to find and a long-standing familiarity with protecting and preserving the things that matter most to society – our sacred documents and artifacts. Her knowledge, energy and passion will serve us incredibly well and we are grateful to have her.”

In her teaching career at large state institutions, like Virginia Tech and Kent State Universities, and in small colleges, like Morris Brown College and Bauder College, she taught African American literature of the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement; Contemporary, Latin-American, and Native American literature; and Creative Writing.

Ms. Kemp earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia, and a Master of Arts degree in English from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia (where she was the second Black student to earn a graduate degree from that department and where she studied with Nikki Giovanni). She also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Queens University, Charlotte, North Carolina, and another Masters in Archives and Records Administration from San Jose State University, San Jose, California.

As a Chair of General Education (2003 – 2008) and an archivist in her own company, KPWAMC, Melissa managed and maintained various collections of records, local histories, and school histories. She has also conducted and edited several oral histories, including “A Hidden History: The Black Experience in the Roanoke Valley” with Harrison Museum and Virginia Tech; Batteaux boats on the James River for the Harrison Museum and Virginia’s Explore Park; “The Nurse’s Station: A History of Nurses at Burrell Memorial Hospital” for Harrison Museum; and 18 oral history interviews with Swarthmore College students of the 1960 – 1966 Civil Rights Movement in 2022.

Melissa is the current Digital Production Librarian at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. Most recently, she was Digital Archivist & Historian for Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland. She remains active in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Tau Pi Omega Chapter in Atlanta, Georgia.

BlackPast.org (www.blackpast.org), founded on February 1, 2007, was conceived to provide reference information on people of African ancestry in the United States and around the world. BlackPast.org is supported by a volunteer staff and nearly 1,000 volunteer content contributors from six continents. The website has the equivalent of 10,000 pages and is free and ungated. New features are added regularly. BlackPast.org facilitates partnerships with industry, academia and philanthropy to deliver to the world educational information on notable Black individuals and events that impact humanity. For more information, please visit www.BlackPast.org. BlackPast.org is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization – IRS exemption EIN# 26-1625373.

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