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National Baptist Convention - Timeline Event

Time Period

09-24-1895

Description

After the Reconstruction period ended in 1877, southern black Baptists realized the need for a national association to advance black higher education, publishing, and missions work. In 1880, 151 ministers from 11 southern states met in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. In 1895, it united with two other national associations to form the National Baptist Convention (NBC).

In 1915, however, the NBC split into the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc because their publishing company, National Baptist Publishing House, desired independence. A further division came in 1961 due to disagreements regarding the civil rights movement (see Progressive National Baptist Convention). In 1988, a final split in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. formed the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Today, these four NBC descendants represent approximately 12 million American black Baptists, more than one in four African-Americans.

Interactive Timeline(s)

Race/Ethnicity and Religion
Baptist Events and People

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Narrative

Following the end of Reconstruction in 1877, southern black Baptists realized the need for a national association to advance black higher education, publishing, and missions work. In 1880, 151 ministers from 11 southern states met in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. In 1895, it united with two other national associations to form the National Baptist Convention (NBC). Northern white publishers, under pressure from southern segregationists, had stopped publishing black religious literature, so in 1896, the NBC commissioned Richard Henry Boyd to form the National Baptist Publishing House. The Convention could not give Boyd any money, so he used his own funds to get the Publishing House off the ground. By 1914, it had printed more than 128 million pieces of literature, including many collections of traditional black hymns, helping preserve black spirituals for future generations.

In 1915, however, the NBC split over the question of the National Baptist Publishing House's independence from the denomination. Boyd won after several years of court battles, but the NBC split into separate denominations which are today called the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. A further division in the NBCUSA came in 1961 when its President, J. H. Jackson, cautioned against direct action tactics in the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and other delegates subsequently withdrew and formed the Progressive National Baptist Convention. In 1988, a final split in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. formed the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Today, these four denominational descendants of the National Baptist Convention claim to represent a total of 12 million American black Baptists, which is more than one in four of all African-Americans.

Religious Groups

Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links
Baptist Family: Religious Family Tree

Biographies

Abernathy, Ralph
King, Martin Luther

Movements

Civil Rights Movement

Photographs

E C Morris, first president of the NBC- Internet Archive- from Twentieth Century Negro Literature by D. W. Culp
E C Morris, first president of the NBC- Internet Archive- from Twentieth Century Negro Literature by D. W. Culp

Leaders in the formation of the NBC- Hathi Trust- from The Story of the National Baptists by Owen D. Pelt and Ralph Lee Smith
Leaders in the formation of the NBC- Hathi Trust- from The Story of the National Baptists by Owen D. Pelt and Ralph Lee Smith

First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Birthplace of the NBC- Hathi Trust- from The Story of the National Baptists by Owen D. Pelt and Ralph Lee Smith
First Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Birthplace of the NBC- Hathi Trust- from The Story of the National Baptists by Owen D. Pelt and Ralph Lee Smith

Richard Henry Boyd portrait- Internet Archive- from Evidences of Progress Among Colored People by G. F. Richings
Richard Henry Boyd portrait- Internet Archive- from Evidences of Progress Among Colored People by G. F. Richings

Book/Journal Source(s)

Lincoln, C. Eric and Lawrence H. Mamiya, 1990. The Black Church in the African American Experience Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Web Page Contributor

Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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