S. Charmaine McKissick-Melton
As the youngest daughter of the late Judge Floyd B. McKissick, Sr., Charmaine McKissick-Melton does public speaking on growing up in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. She weaves the topics of Black empowerment, positive self-esteem and the role of media in political development throughout, and brings the audience up to the present in a lively presentation.
McKissick-Melton was awarded the Coca-Cola Minority Faculty fellowship at the University of Notre Dame where she taught a course titled “The Civil Rights Movement and Beyond.” She is working on preparing the memoirs of her father.
She is recently retired as an associate professor in the Department of Mass Communication at North Carolina Central University. She previously served as chairperson and associate professor at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, having taken leave to go to Notre Dame. Bennett (est. 1873) is the oldest of the two historically Black colleges that are all-female in the United States.
McKissick-Melton received her B.A. in radio, television and film from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She went on to Northern Illinois University and received her master’s degree in speech communication with a specialization in radio, television and film. McKissick-Melton worked in the communications industry for 10 years in radio and television sales and management. She was a Lyman T. Johnson Research Teaching fellow at the University of Kentucky, where she received her Ph.D. in communications with a cognate area in race relations. She has been active on the board of directors of many community, business, political and social awareness organizations.
As the youngest of McKissick’s four children, she lived the Civil Rights Movement. When her two older sisters desegregated the North Carolina school system, she watched the abusive actions they received daily. She and her brother also desegregated the elementary schools in Durham, NC. McKissick-Melton speaks from personal perceptions of civil rights, having accompanied her father and family through the desegregation of southern schools, the Meredith March in Mississippi, and the Harlem riots after Martin Luther King’s death. She has shared homes and meals with all the greats in the movement including Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, Ralph Abernathy, James Farmer, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Harvey Gantt, et al. Being the mother of two African American males (Maceo and Daniel Kemp), McKissick-Melton has a vested interest in where this past will take us in the future. She is married to Tyrone Melton, a Uniserv director for the North Carolina Association of Educators. They work together on a variety of projects to promote human and social justice.