A graduate of Cecil Township High School where he played in the band and earned letters in football, basketball and track. Kemp went to Duquesne University and played football for coach Elmer Layden, one of the legendary four horseman of Notre Dame. He earned All-American honors in football and other awards for track and field.

Kemp was the first African American to play professional football in the city of Pittsburgh and only the second African American to play in the NFL. He was an original member of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Pirates) in 1933 and was the last surviving member of the team when he died. For his contributions to the game of professional football, his picture is displayed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He distinguished himself throughout his 39 year career as a Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics, and coached varsity football, basketball and track and field at Bluefield State College, Lincoln University and Tennessee State where he was Athletic Director, track and field coach and professor of Sociology. He coached Ralph Boston, the 1960 Olympian Gold Medal winner in the broad jump.

Kemp also served as Commissioner of the state of Missouri High School Athletic Association and was unyielding in his devotion to academic excellence and interracial competition.

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