AMERICAN BAPTIST COLLEGE ( 1924- )
American Baptist College is located at 1800 Whites Creek Pike in Nashville. The institution offers the B. A. and the Th.B. degrees in humanities, biblical and theological studies, and church vocations. The idea for such an institution began as early as September of 1895 when the National Baptist Convention (NBC) and its Educational Board were founded. However, not until 1913 did the National Baptist Convention form a seminary committee and secure support from the white Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). In 1915, the plans were further delayed when the National Baptist Convention split into opposing factions: National Baptist Convention of America, Unincorporated (UNBCA), and National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Incorporated (NBCI).
The opposing black National Baptist Convention factions proceeded to open separate seminaries. The National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Incorporated, opened the National Baptist Theological Seminary and Bible Training School in Howe Institute in Memphis in 1916, and the National Baptist Convention of Anierica, Unincorporated, founded the National Baptist Seminary and Missionary Training School (1918-1931) in Nashville's former white Boscobel College campus. The National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., incorporated, moved its school from Memphis in 1918 and located the classes in the Roger Williams University facilities on Whites Creek Pike.
With help from the Southern Baptist Convention, the National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Incorporated, purchased land next door in 1921 and constructed facilities by 1923. On September 14, 1924, the American Baptist Theological Seminary opened its doors.
The school struggled under presidents William T. Amiger (1924-25) and Sutton E. Griggs (1925-26). After the adjacent Roger Williams University closed in 1929, the seminary moved to quarters rented on Meharry Medical College's First Avenue South campus, where it remained during 1931-1934. Meanwhile, white Trevecca College occupied the former campus on Whites Creek Pike. In September, 1934, the Seminary moved back to the Whites Creek property, and Trevecca relocated to the former campus of Walden College (a black school operated during 1868-1922) near Murfreesboro Road.
In 1936, the Convention placed a Missionary Training School for Women next door, in the old Roger Williams University buildings. The co-ed classes, as well as night and summer classes, were begun. The Southern Baptist Convention agreed in 1937 to help finance the budget. Thirty-eight students--the largest class ever--were graduated in 1948. The training school and the seminary merged by 1957. Under President Charles E. Boddie, the institution gained accreditation in 1971.
By 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention withdrew its support and its members of the board of trustees. American Baptist College continued, under the leadership of President Bernard Lafayette, to educate and train church workers, ministers, and other students.