Juneteenth: An Opportunity to Honor and Learn from Our History

A message from President Forrest Harris
Over the centuries of their sojourn in America, Black people have represented the nation’s experimental history and spirit, and the true meaning of its constitutional and human rights creeds. For many of us, celebrating Juneteenth means an opportunity to move toward a different future, one where all citizens flourish and there is justice for all.

History lays out the facts of Juneteenth.

When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, it freed Black people from the bondage of slavery. But Black people in Texas didn’t learn of their freedom until more than two years later when Union Major General Gordon Granger and his troops – including hundreds of Black men — arrived at Galveston on June 19, 1865, with news that the war had ended and they were now free. As the news spread, street parties and freedom shouts erupted. 

Today’s historians are offering fresh perspectives for a new racial imagination. In the book "White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide", Emory University professor Carol Anderson writes: “Imagine if Reconstruction had actually honored the citizenship of four million freed people – provided education, political autonomy, and the economic wherewithal warranted by their ancestors’ hundreds of years of free labor. Imagine the educational prowess our population might now boast had Brown v. the Board of Education actually been implemented. Imagine if, instead of launching into spurious attacks about his citizenship and filling the blogsphere with racist simian depictions, the United States had been able to harness the awe-inspiring symbolism of our first Black president.”

Reflecting on history builds a better understanding of the world and our place in it. As we approach the second nationally observed celebration of Juneteenth, I echo the sentiments of so many historians who have sounded the call that Black history and, by extension, Black lives, be taken seriously. On this most meaningful day, let us be relentless in the pursuit and sharing of knowledge, and recommit to the American Baptist College motto to “Light a Flame that Lasts Forever.”

American Baptist Receives Contribution from Nashville Airport Authority

American Baptist College recently received $15,000 from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority’s (MNAA) 2022 Charity Golf Tournament. The contribution was presented by Stacy Nickens, MNAA’s assistant vice president of corporate communications, and Devita Taylor, vice president of diversity. The gift was presented at the 2022 Commencement Ceremony, which added to the joy of the event for the graduates and their families.  

“I am so excited to celebrate this milestone,” said Nickens. “You are part of an esteemed group of graduates from American Baptist College. You stand on the shoulders of giants, and may you always continue to do the great work of the foundation that has been laid before you. It is my pleasure on behalf of the airport to present you with this check.”

“The airport’s annual golf tournament contributes funds to many worthy non-profit organizations in Middle Tennessee each year,” said Phyllis Qualls, vice president for institutional advancement. “American Baptist College was pleased to be a recipient of this significant gift this year.”

Added President Harris, “Our students were able to see how this outstanding business in Nashville, one of the top airports in the nation, willingly invests in American Baptist College and especially its students.”

The Commencement Ceremony speaker, Rev. Dr. Christopher Davis, also a new member of the American Baptist College Board of Trustees, delivered a stirring message to the students. Dr. Davis also made a $5,000 contribution to the College In his closing remarks. 

“It gave me joy to see that others value ABC as I do,” said Mykea Braden, a 2022 graduate.

“Coming Back from COVID-19”
Lunch & Learn Series Begins Next Week

On Monday, June 20, American Baptist College will hold the first in a new series of lunch and learn lectures for the campus community on “Coming Back from COVID-19.” The inaugural session will focus on self-care and wellness, with featured speaker and certified mental health counselor Kimberly Proctor-White.

The lecture series is paid for with funding provided by the United States Government to address and/or mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic pursuant to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funding (HEERF) Act. Upcoming topics and dates will be announced in the coming weeks.

Campus Adopts Summer Schedule

Executive Vice President Richard Jackson has announced that the campus will observe summer hours, with full days Mondays through Thursdays, and half days on Fridays. Effective through July 29, 2022, campus office will maintain the following schedule (all times Central):

Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Friday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

During that time, the campus main gate will close no later than 3 p.m. on Fridays and remain closed (except for previously scheduled and approved events) until 6 a.m. on Mondays.

Recognizing Juneteenth

The ABC Campus will observe Juneteenth on Friday, June 17.  The campus will be officially closed. The College will resume normal operations on Monday, June 20.

Celebrating Father's Day

At American Baptist College, we produce leaders. We offer Associate's Degrees in General Studies and Music & Arts, and Bachelor's Degrees in Bible & Theology, Behavioral Studies, and Entrepreneurial Leadership.

Apply Today! Classes start August 15, 2022. 

To apply, visit or contact The Office of Admissions at and/or 615-687-6907.

Support The Students of ABC

By providing a financial contribution, you can directly impact their lives, this community, and our world.

Donate to American Baptist College

We Remember:

Rev. Marvin Neal, class of '92 transitioned on Monday, June 13. He was the husband of former ABC Board member Sherri Neal; the son-in-law of the retired director of institutional advancement, Mrs. Regina Prude; and the father-in-law of ABC institutional advancement data consultant Nicole Neal. The American Baptist College family extends heartfelt sympathy to the entire Neal family. Details are forthcoming.
ABC Welcome Week Activities: One Campus Under the Groove
August 8-12, 2022
Details to come

The Washington Post - Vanderbilt Taps 26 Notable Names to Democracy Project Board

Tennessee Tribune - 2022 MLK Joint Day of Service Set for April 2

Tennessee Tribune - More Than 65 TN College and University Leaders Urge Members Of Congress to Double Maximum Pell Grant Award

Tennessee Lookout - Artist McBride Drew Inspiration from John Lewis

The Tennessean - Nashville Historical Commission Secures Grant to Study City's Civil Rights Movement

Tennessee Tribune - American Baptist Enthusiastically Celebrates 97 Years

American Baptist College has survived and thrived for 97 years. Established out of a desire to train African American preachers, it now is a full-fledged Historically Black College/University and offers both Associate's and Bachelor's degrees. Nestled on the “Holy” Hill in North Nashville, this College is a treasured institution in teaching, guiding and developing leaders of social change for the 21st century and beyond. Our work places a SEAL (Social Justice, Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership) on the world. 
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Nashville, TN 37207

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