American Baptist College

American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee, is the thriving living legacy of Sutton E. Griggs, who began working to create a national black theological seminary even before he became Corresponding Secretary of the National Baptist Convention's Educational Board in 1910.  In 1913, in St. Louis, he was the first African American to deliver an address at an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, asking for financial support for the seminary.  In September 1924, the American Baptist Theological Seminary opened on a site overlooking the Cumberland River, and in 1925 and 1926 Sutton Griggs served as its first President.  During the 1960s, students attending the school, including John Lewis, James Bevel, Bernard Lafayette, and Julian Scruggs, played important roles in the Civil Rights Movement.  In the 1970s, the institution converted from a seminary to a liberal arts college and changed its name.  The school received HBCU designation in 2013, and it currently has 150 students.  American Baptist College serves as the World Headquarters of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated. 

"I came to Nashville not to bring inspiration but to gain insight from the great movement that has taken place in this community"  --Martin Luther King, Jr., at Fisk University, 1960 

"If not us, then who?  If not now, then when?"  --John Lewis, 1961

Griggs Hall, erected in 1923, was the first building on campus, providing space for student living quarters, a library, a dining hall, and classrooms.  Abandoned in the 1980s, Griggs Hall has recently been renovated.  In the spring of 2015, administrative offices opened in the building, and it will again house students beginning in the fall of 2015. 

Images of American Baptist College and Griggs Hall appear below.  Additional information about American Baptist College can be accessed at the following link: