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Betty Ruth Kemp
1930 -

Betty Ruth Kemp was born on May 5, 1930, in Tishomingo, Okla., to Raymond and Mamie Kemp. She is the great-granddaughter of fellow Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame Inductee, Levi "Itawamba Miko" Colbert.

Under her direction, the Northeast Mississippi Historical and Genealogical Society was organized. Ms. Kemp gave many speeches about Chickasaw history and Native American genealogical research to organizations in the Tupelo, Miss., area. She helped pave the way for current relations and cultural exchanges between the Chickasaw people and those who now live on their ancestral homelands.

Ms. Kemp co-wrote a grant to fund a year-long archeology research project into Chickasaw habitation of the region. Her efforts led to a delegation from the Chickasaw Nation to attend the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Pontotoc held in Pontotoc County, Miss., in 1983.

With a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and a master's degree from Florida State University, both in library sciences, Ms. Kemp was the Director of Lee-Itawamba Library System based in Tupelo, Miss., for more than 28 years. She was instrumental in raising funds for the Lee County Library when it was announced that a Chickasaw collection would be housed on site.

Ms. Kemp has served on the board of directors of the Chickasaw Historical Society. She was appointed by the Mississippi governor to the Mississippi Library Commission, the governing panel for all public libraries within the state. Ms. Kemp was also the first minority woman to hold the office of president through the North Mississippi Conference-United Methodist Women.

Among others, she has participated and held offices in the following organizations: President of the American Indian Cultural Society, Norman, Okla., the American Library Association and the American Association of University Women-John J. Hart Chapter, Miss., and is a charter member of the League of Women Voters.

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