Nashville ‘Preacher School’ Becomes Newest HBCU

American Baptist has educated several civil rights leaders. Its ministry degrees focus on social justice issues. Credit: ABC

American Baptist has educated several civil rights leaders. Its ministry degrees focus on social justice issues. Credit: ABC

Nashville is now home to the country’s newest Historically Black College and University. A liberal arts school in North Nashville with 200 students has been added to the HBCU ranks.

The list of more than 100 HBCUs – which include Nashville’s Fisk, Meharry and Tennessee State – has basically been unchanged since 1965. Back then, American Baptist College was just a preacher school, says president Forrest Harris.

“Our school was founded in 1924 as a Biblical school, a seminary to train rural clergy. We have been a predominantly African American institution, but without the official designation.”

American Baptist has had a liberal arts curriculum since 1971 but has only now pursued HBCU status. With the four letters comes an automatic windfall of federal grants.

The anticipated minimum this year is expected to be $250,000. For a school the size of American Baptist, that comes out to more than $1,200 per student.

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