National Baptist Convention
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Time Period
9/24/1895
Description
After the Reconstruction period ended in 1877, southern black Baptists realized the need for a national association to advance black higher education, publishing, and missions work. In 1880, 151 ministers from 11 southern states met in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. In 1895, it united with two other national associations to form the National Baptist Convention (NBC).

In 1915, however, the NBC split into the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc because their publishing company, National Baptist Publishing House, desired independence. A further division came in 1961 due to disagreements regarding the civil rights movement (see Progressive National Baptist Convention). In 1988, a final split in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. formed the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Today, these four NBC descendants represent approximately 12 million American black Baptists, more than one in four African-Americans.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
Following the end of Reconstruction in 1877, southern black Baptists realized the need for a national association to advance black higher education, publishing, and missions work. In 1880, 151 ministers from 11 southern states met in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Baptist Foreign Mission Convention. In 1895, it united with two other national associations to form the National Baptist Convention (NBC). Northern white publishers, under pressure from southern segregationists, had stopped publishing black religious literature, so in 1896, the NBC commissioned Richard Henry Boyd to form the National Baptist Publishing House. The Convention could not give Boyd any money, so he used his own funds to get the Publishing House off the ground. By 1914, it had printed more than 128 million pieces of literature, including many collections of traditional black hymns, helping preserve black spirituals for future generations.

In 1915, however, the NBC split over the question of the National Baptist Publishing House's independence from the denomination. Boyd won after several years of court battles, but the NBC split into separate denominations which are today called the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. and the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. A further division in the NBCUSA came in 1961 when its President, J. H. Jackson, cautioned against direct action tactics in the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and other delegates subsequently withdrew and formed the Progressive National Baptist Convention. In 1988, a final split in the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. formed the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Today, these four denominational descendants of the National Baptist Convention claim to represent a total of 12 million American black Baptists, which is more than one in four of all African-Americans.
Religious Groups
Baptist Family: Other Timeline Event Entries
Baptist Family: Other Timeline Biography Entries

Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links

Biographies
King, Martin Luther
Abernathy, Ralph
Movements
Civil Rights Movement
Photographs

E C Morris, first president of the NBC- Internet Archive

Leaders in the formation of the NBC- Hathi Trust

First Baptist Church, Montgomery- Birthplace of the NBC- Hathi Trust

Richard Henry Boyd portrait- Internet Archive
Source(s)
Lincoln, C. Eric and Lawrence H. Mamiya, 1990. The Black Church in the African American Experience. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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