'African-American Baptist History' in spotlight during CU's Baptist Heritage series

'African-American Baptist History' in spotlight during CU's Baptist Heritage series

Oct. 10, 2012
For Immediate Release

Curtis Wood, right, associate executive director for convention relations of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, greeted Dr. Lawrence H. Williams, left, one of two speakers at CU’s Baptist Heritage Series lectures at the Louisville Center Oct. 4. In the center is CU Dean of the School of Theology, Dr. John Hurtgen. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)

By Linda Waggener, marketing and media relations coordinator

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – “How can we keep our African American history alive?” the student asked the professor, referring to the multitudes of Americans who don’t seem to be involved in the details of our past.

“You become a committee of one,” the professor said, “and you keep it going.”

That was the advice of Dr. Lawrence H. Williams, distinguished professor emeritus of Africana studies and history after his lecture on the powerful story of Simmons College at the Baptist Heritage Series lecture Oct. 4.

“The black middle class of Kentucky owes a tremendous debt to Simmons,” he said. “It was the only black-owned and black-controlled school offering all degrees, training ministers, teachers, physicians and lawyers in this area of the country.”

Williams is widely known for his research on African-American Baptist history and is a nationally recognized authority on the black church and the civil rights movement.

Dr. Joe Early Jr., assistant professor of theology at Campbellsville University, followed Williams’ lecture with his presentation on Richard Henry Boyd, a key leader in documenting and shaping black Baptist identity. Boyd was born into slavery but rose to become an African-American minister and successful businessman remembered as the founder and head of the National Baptist Publishing Board and a founder of the National Baptist Convention of America Inc.

Early said Boyd was a quick study and a savvy businessman even though he didn’t know his alphabet until age 20 when he hired a young woman to teach him. Boyd insisted that black Baptists should write and publish their own materials. He became a publisher after proclaiming that Caucasian materials do not always serve the needs of Black Baptists.

Campbellsville University’s Baptist Heritage Series, presented by the Office of Church and External Relations, is under the leadership of John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations and executive assistant to the president. It focuses attention on Baptist heritage and history and the distinctiveness of the Baptist faith.

Chowning said he was proud this year’s BHS event could bring attention to the rich African-American Baptist history in Kentucky and in the nation.

The event was co-sponsored by the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky, Central District Association of Baptists and Simmons College of Kentucky.

As a Baptist affiliated institution, Campbellsville University promotes understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a Baptist in the 21st century. For more information, call (270) 789-5520 or email jechowning@campbellsville.edu.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 3,600 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.
Download Printable Document