American Baptist College, also known as American Baptist Theological Seminary, is a small, predominantly African American liberal arts college. Founded in 1924, its predecessor was Roger Williams University, a black college established in the late 19th century, but later closed in the early 20th century. Its original campus is now occupied by the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Primarily a school designed to train African American Baptist ministers, its student body was highly influential in the civil rights movement.
Founded by the American Missionary Association and the Western Freedman’s Aid Commission, Fisk University began in 1866 as the Fisk School, a free school for African Americans in Nashville. Jubilee Hall, completed in 1875, was the first permanent building erected for the higher education of African Americans in the United States, and is now a National Historical Landmark. Money for its construction was raised by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, whose singing tours brought them acclaim as the world’s first touring performance group. Additionally, the Little Theatre, built in 1860, is the oldest structure on the campus of Fisk University. Erected as part of a Union Army Hospital barracks during the Civil War, it was readapted for use as the campus theatre in 1935. Also on Fisk’s campus is the Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery, named for the New York music critic, art collector and photographer who inspired the 1949 donation of the Stieglitz Collection to the university by Alfred Stieglitz’s widow Georgia O’Keeffe. The collection includes original works by Cézanne, Picasso, Renoir, O’Keeffe and others. Furthermore, in the gallery’s collection are paintings by Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, who headed the Fisk Art Department for many years.
MEHARRY MEDICAL COLLEGE
Meharry Medical College was the first medical education program established for African Americans in the United States, and is now the country’s largest private institution for the training of black healthcare professionals. Organized in 1876 as the medical department of Central Tennessee College, the university now has four schools: Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Studies and Allied Health Professions.
McKISSACK AND McKISSACK ARCHITECTS
Moses McKissack was a slave who learned to be a master builder. He passed his trade on to his son Gabriel Moses, who in turn passed it to his son, Moses III. Born in Pulaski, Tennessee, Moses III attended the segregated Pulaski public schools and began work for an architect in that town in 1890. By 1895, he was a construction superintendent, building homes in Pulaski, Mt. Pleasant, and Columbia, Tennessee. In 1905, Moses III built a residence for the dean of architecture and engineering at Vanderbilt University and opened his first office in Nashville. One of his first major design projects was the Carnegie Library on the Fisk University campus. In1922, Moses III and his younger brother, Calvin Lunsford McKissack, became partners in the firm of McKissack & McKissack, establishing one of the oldest African-American architectural firms in the U.S. The McKissacks were among the first registered architects in the state and went on to design numerous buildings, including the Tennessee State University Memorial Library, Pearl High School and Capers Memorial CME Church.
The original Nashville Sound had its roots in the African-American community. The tradition began with Fisk University’s Singers, whose worldwide singing tours saved the university from financial collapse in the 1870s and gave Nashville an international reputation as a center for black religious music. In the 20th century, the Fairfield Four toured the United States and maintained a decade-long radio spot on Nashville’s Clear Channel Radio station WLAC. Other performers and groups followed like Bobby Jones, CeCe and BeBe Winans, Ann McCrary and Take 6. In the realm of country music, harmonica wizard DeFord Bailey played a role in thenaming of the Grand Ole Opry in 1926. Bailey’s rendition of “Pan American Blues” opened the WSM Barn Dance program, which followed an hour of symphonic music, inspiring announcer George Hay to introduce the radically different music program as “the Grand Ole Opry.” Bailey’s contributions to country music are represented in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; he was inducted in 2005.
NATIONAL BAPTIST PUBLISHING BOARD
The National Baptist Publishing Board was established in 1896 by the Reverend Richard Henry Boyd, a founder of Citizens Bank. Born a slave in 1843, Boyd fought in the Civil War, became an ordained minister and moved to Nashville to found the Publishing Board. Its purpose was to publish denominational literature relevant to the African-American experience for the Negro National Baptist Convention’s member churches. To equip his new business, Boyd contracted with a white man to bid for printing presses because segregation laws prohibited blacks from engaging in such activity. The board quickly became one of the largest business enterprises owned and operated by blacks in the United States. Still in family hands, the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation is headquartered in Nashville and produces over 14 millionbooks and periodicals a year.
ONE CENT SAVINGS
Savings Bank, now Citizens Bank, became the first minority-owned bank in Tennessee. Only one other bank, a branch of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company Bank based in Washington, D.C., had been operated for the African-American community in Nashville since the Civil War. Now the oldest continuously operating minority-owned bank in the U.S., Citizens Bank was founded by the Reverend Richard Henry Boyd, James C. Napier and Preston Taylor. When other local banks failed during the Great Depression, Citizens Bank survived through conservative lending policies and by encouraging systematic savings.
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
Tennessee State University is a comprehensive urban co-educational land-grant university founded in 1912. The present-day Tennessee State University exists as a result of the merger on July 1, 1979, of Tennessee State University and the former University of Tennessee at Nashville. Athletes from Tennessee State University, including track legend Wilma Rudolph, have produced more Olympic gold medals than any other University in the United States. Fifty-nine Olympic athletes have captured 17 gold, eight silver and seven bronze medals. TSU is also Oprah Winfrey’s alma mater.
Born in Davidson County around 1883 to former slave parents, William Edmondson worked as a railroad and hospital laborer until 1931, when he began to produce primitive limestone carvings. A deeply religious man, Edmondson believed that he was called by God to carve stones. Without formal training, he first began carving simple tombstones and later primitive animals, angels, Biblical characters and even celebrities such as Eleanor Roosevelt. Famed photographer Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s images of Edmondson’s work for Harper’s Bazaar led to a 1937 exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Edmondson was the first African-American artist to be honored with a one-man exhibit at this museum.
CHAMBERS AND ASSOCIATIONS
AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL ALLIANCE
P.O. Box 22173
Nashville, TN 37202
The African American Cultural Alliance is a cultural awareness organization dedicated to enhancing the awareness of the cultural and historical background of people of African descent, while providing various outlets in which members demonstrate African-Americanculture to others.
GREATER NASHVILLE BLACK CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
1501 Jefferson Street
Nashville, TN 37208
The Greater Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce (GNBCC) is a not-for-profit organization whose focus is to provide economic development within the African-American community. The organization acts as an advocate for emerging and established businessesto create new market opportunities, provide access to capital and revitalize the African-American community.
NASHVILLE AREA HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
P.O. Box 40541
Nashville, TN 37204
The Nashville Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is a business and professional organization serving to establish leadership and create and enhance the business environment in which Hispanics can establish and operate a business.
NASHVILLE KURDISH FORUM
392 Harding Place, Suite 210
Nashville, TN 37211
The Nashville Kurdish Forum is dedicated to empowering Kurds, as well as other refugees and immigrants in the Nashville area, through provision of social services and educational programs that enable these new Americans to achieve self sufficiency and integration into the mainstream society. Founded in 2003, goal of the NFK is “to bridge the gaps between Kurds, other foreign-born populations and Nashville’s larger community in order to reach full participation in the civic life of the city and to ensure equal access.”
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF TENNESSEE, INC. (NAIA)
230 Spence Lane
Nashville, TN 37210
NAIA represents the concerns of the more than 10,000 Native American Indian residents of Tennessee and is a service organization based on the principles of self-determination and self-reliance. NAIA is committed to providing a broad range of services including job training and placement, vocational training, scholarships, bilingual and other educational services, health services, cultural revitalization and emergency assistance in times of crisis.
TENNESSEE HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
250 Chatfield Way
Franklin, TN 37067
The chamber works to bring the issues and concerns of area Hispanic-owned businesses to the forefront of the state’s economic agenda. The ongoing work of the Tennessee Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Nashville seeks to provide members with access to unique opportunities, services and events; to engage in business development; to shape public policy by serving as the voice of the Hispanic business community; and to facilitate the building of community vision.