Joy and Strength of Black History

A Statement from President Forrest E. Harris, Sr.

The Reverend Melvina Blanch, an associate minister at Nashville’s Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church, preached a sermon admonishing the church to “Remember Your Identity.” There is nothing I can imagine today more urgent than this for Black people in America.

We remember Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous words spoken in Memphis at Mason Temple the night before his murder.

“I may not get there with you, but one day we will get to the Promised Land.” King’s words came like a sudden epiphany, rushing in upon the crowd who heard him that night. It was a stormy night, with mounting fears, violence, and threats of death, but at that moment, a joyous theophany, an expression of God, burst through the despair. “I am not fearing any man; my eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” It was a profound moment of joy and strength, lifting King and the people on the other side of despair and fear. In their struggle for justice, at the height of the movement, King knew he and the people were rooted in a relationship with God, giving them the power to triumph over evil.

Black History Month is a time for us to reclaim the human relationship, joy, and strength of Black people’s identity. It celebrates overcoming grief and tragedy and triumphs through the power of God. We’ve seen many descriptions, labels, and markers of our identity. From chattel slave, Negro, African-American, to Black and Beautiful, and everything positive and negative in between, we have self- amended the positive and negated the negative. I choose to see our Blackness in God, Blackness wrapped in divinity. Blackness is far more than a consciousness of skin color. It involves a new definition of self, a different self-understanding, and a common sense of worth in the image of God that belongs to everybody. We cannot afford to leave it to others to educate our children about their identity. Living into, teaching, and honoring the history of Black folks’ long march to freedom, struggles, and walk with God is stewardship that belongs to us.

What I have said thus far is a pretext for connecting the Nehemiah text read in your hearing to understand the meaning of history as related to God in our history. It lifts the importance of reading and paying homage to the sacred texts of our history. It informs, transforms, renews our minds to reclaim, and melds together our life journey with our ancestors’ spirit and walk with God.

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Student Welcoming Event

Keep the flame burning On the Road to 100

The SGA-Ad Hoc sponsored Welcoming event was an exciting experience.

It featured music, games, information, and a highly-touted treasure hunt. Its purpose was to welcome new and returning students and usher in the Spring Semester.

"It was all that and more," said Professor William Green, director of student formation. He added, "The students used their creativity to connect in this time of physical disconnection, because of COVID."

"We were so pleased to have the support of the administration, faculty advisors, faculty, and staff for this special event.  We want to connect in every way possible," said Harmonie Hall, senior.

[t-l] Dr. Harris holding up three-generation picture in answering the Treasure Hung question. — "Show something that represents legacy.'

[t-r] Brandon Brown Springer enjoying the event 

[b-l] Thadeus Bryant, ABC student

[br] Professor William Green, sharing the moment with joy 

Pervis Payne is Coming Home!

A Message from SEAL Director Rev. Vahisha Hasan

Have you heard the amazing news?! Pervis Payne, who was on death row for 34 years, is now eligible for parole and there is an actual path for him to return to the loving arms of his family and community.

That community includes all of you!

Thank you to every person who engaged in Bearing Witness for Pervis, his family, and his legal team. Many of you showed up every Wednesday on the corner since September 2021 and others prayed every week and during court dates. Some of you wrote letters to the judge who would decide on Pervis's path to freedom. It all worked together for Pervis's good!

We, along with Pervis, his family, legal team, and the Memphis organizers, are deeply grateful.

Our History Is Black History

American Baptist College's history reaches back to the strength of our ancestors, who paved the way for us to thrive.
American Baptist College was established in 1924 by two distinct organizations; the all-Black National Baptist Convention, and the all-White Southern Baptist Convention.

The first building on the campus, Griggs Hall was named after father and son, Allen R. Griggs and Sutton E. Griggs Sr. social activists of the time.

The campus library is named after Dr. Susie McClure, a strong supporter of the College. She is a vibrant 105 years young at this writing.

A Thank You to Our Subscribers!

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64th Annual Garnett Nabrit Lecture Series

Plan to attend the VIRTUAL 64th Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lectures, beginning Sunday, March 20, through Tuesday, March 22. There will be no admission charge. Register today! 
Register Now!
American Baptist College has extended its work-from-home and virtual classes through the month of February. President Harris announced that in recognition of the continued threat posed by the COVID-19 Omicron variant to the health and wellness of the College’s employees and students, the College will remain in “work at home” and remote/virtual learning modes for the month of February 2022.
We are also reminding students and our greater ABC community to do their part to stop the spread. Wear a properly fitted mask when physical distancing is not possible or when in poorly ventilated settings; wash your hands regularly with soap and water or clean them with alcohol-based hand rub; and cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. 

For those who have not taken a vaccine/booster, one medical location to consider is Meharry Medical College, an HBCU partner in Nashville HBCU consortium. You can make an appointment to receive your booster immunization online or call 615-327-6348.
Additional Resources

Supporting ABC Allows Us to Offer Students a Unique Opportunity to Achieve Academic Success

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

Donate to American Baptist College
February 17, 2022
3rd Annual HBCU College Expo
Wilson High School
Florence, SC

February 24, 2022
School District 228 HBCU College Fair
Hillcrest High School
Country Club Hills, IL
February 26, 2022
AKA HBCU College Fair
Gainesville High School
Gainesville, GA

March 5, 2022
Houston HBCU Alumni College Fair
Marriott South Hobby Hotel
Houston, TX
February 13, 2022 - Postponed
C.T Vivian Event
New date TBD

February 25, 2022
ABC Day - Chattanooga

March 9, 2022
3rd Annual HBCU Day on the Hill
March 13, 2022
ABC Strong Day - Wisconsin

March 20-23, 2022
Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series

March 28 - April 2, 2022
Spring Break

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

Aviation Pros -The Tennessee Tribune Store Debuts at Nashville International Airport

Globe News Wire - Cutting-Edge Technology Platform Encredibox Partners With American Baptist College to Safely Provide Career Coaching Essentials

News Channel 5 Nashville - Nashville honors Rep. John Lewis with downtown mural

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

Tennessee Tribune - American Baptist Enthusiastically Celebrates 97 Years

Main Street Nashville - Agewell Middle Tennessee announces 2021 Sage Award winners

Education Post - The System Failed Me

Main Street Nashville - John Lewis Way: The power of an idea, powered by community

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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