Jessica C. Neal (Jes) — she/they — is a millennial creative, archivist, and black memory worker based in Mobile, AL. Informed by the frameworks of Black studies, Black feminist theory, decolonial theory, and critical archival studies, her work seeks to investigate, interrogate, imagine and document practices of liberation, heritage, and culture.
Jes is also deeply invested in serving as an ally and collaborator within global marginalized communities to create more equity in who gets historicized and to implement post-custodial archival models. Recognizing storytelling and the resources to self-document are crucial to intergenerational communication, evidence of existence, and authentic legacy-making, her long-term focus is her work in community, personal, family, and organizational archives that document Black cultural production–-especially in the arts, literary, and social movements.
Currently, she is the records management project manager at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the archivist for the Mellon grant funded Diaspora Solidarities Lab. Previously, Jes served as curator and archivist for the Sterling A. Brown papers at Williams College, and recently curated the R E V E A L A T I O N S exhibition in fall 2022. Notably, she was a consultant on the curatorial team for the exhibition titled Uncommon Threads: The Works of Ruth E. Carter at New Bedford Art Museum. She has also partnered with The Gates Preserve as an archivist and oral history consultant and contributed to the Lo Life digital archive project, which debuted summer 2022.