The Rev. Kendrick Arthur Kemp was raised in Upstate NY, Lyons. He earned a Masters of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in NYC and an MSW from Binghamton University. He is ordained as a minister in the American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan New York.
While at Union, Kendrick was the founding member and co-chair of the Disability Justice Caucus. Kendrick was mentored by the late Dr. James Cone, the founder of Black Liberation Theology. Out of the depths of theological wisdom, Kendrick constructed Black Liberation Theology of Disability. He has lived with a disability for over 30 years.
Since graduating, Kendrick has preached and taught all over the US. He has also traveled to Puerto Rico and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he shared his theological perspective.
Kendrick also enjoys reading, listening to spirituals, and having critical conversations about race and disabilities.
The Black Liberation Theology of Disability:
a) encompasses black persons living with disabilities and focuses on their needs socially, spiritually, and economically
b) seeks to transform society to embrace black persons living with disabilities as an integral part in the fabric of society
c) understands a disabled God; a God paralyzed by the cross; a God, not apathetic to suffering, but in solidarity with the marginalized.
“Kendrick is to those of us who are black and living with a disability what Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the civil rights movement.”
– Lenin Dominguez
“My dear brother Kendrick is a brilliant and courageous freedom fighter. I am blessed to work with him in efforts to highlight the deep humanity and rich creativity of precious physically-challenged people.”
-Dr. Cornell West
Democratic Socialists of America
“Kendrick Kemp is an innovative and gifted theologian researching the crucially important nexus between disability and black liberation theology. Kendrick brings a unique and refreshing, yet under-heard and valued voice to this emerging field.”
–Dr. Zachariah Duke, BBI
The Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand
“What excites me most about Kemp’s Black Liberation Theology of Disability is its potential to call attention to differing abilities of various inhabited human bodies. Apparently the Soul requires many body forms, however limited our culture’s grasp of this may be. Go, Kendrick. Do your needed work!.”
–Dr. Myra Sabir
Assistant Professor at Binghamton University
“Kendrick Kemp is a hard-working, humble, yet superior intellectual I have known a little over a year. He is developing a Black Liberation Theology of Disability. This theology combines three important concepts: 1). Black Theology; 2). Liberation theology; and 3) a liberating view of Disability. Further, its breadth of design addresses both academic and practical applications, and cast in terms of the variety of pan African peoples in the global Diaspora.”
Author of Somebodyness: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Theory of Dignity (1993), Xodus: An African-American Male Journey (1996), My Sister, My Brother (with his wife Karen) (1997), Black Religion After the Million Man March (1998), Dirty Hands: Christian Ethics in a Morally Ambiguous World (2000) & Bible Witness in Black Churches (2009)
“Kendrick Kemp is a resonant voice of profound dignity and strength for people who are made even more vulnerable by the presidential election. Like other prophets, he emerges at the historical moment when he is needed most.”
Director of Advocacy & Outreach, Nonviolent Peaceforce
“Mr. Kemp is, without a doubt, one of the most inclusive and vividly visionary individuals whom I have had the privilege and pleasure to have mentored as well as to have taught in an academic environment and beyond.”
Diane R. Wiener, Ph.D., L.M.S.W.
Research Professor and Associate Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and Outreach at Burton Blatt Institute
“While witnessing the work and leadership of Kendrick Kemp, I have marveled at his unique combination of generous spirit and bold trailblazing. As students together at Union Theological Seminary, our professor Dr. James Cone urged us to find our own theological voice, and that is exactly what Kendrick has done, combining two aspects of his own identity and his own experience of God to create a revolutionary and evolving tool of “Black Liberation Theology of Disability” for all. I have no doubt that this work will change lives, and I have no doubt that we have only yet scratched the surface of Kendrick’s dedication and wisdom.
–Rev. Micah Bucey
Associate Pastor at Judson Memorial Church
“Black Liberation Theology of Disabilities bends the boundaries of race, disability, and class. I am struck by its expansiveness in that not only is God in solidarity with the marginalized and the poor, but that God became paralyzed for the sake of the forgotten. Kendrick presents a bold theology criticizing the very presence of white supremacy. Simultaneously, Black Liberation Theology of Disability is a practical theology, which calls faith communities to create and give space to those whose voices and bodies have been suppressed by society and faith institutions.”
–Rev. Timothy Wotring
Presbyterian Pastor in Philadelphia, PA