Dr. R.H. Boyd
- Founder of the National Baptist Publishing Board
- Leader in the collection, production, and preservation of African-American church music
- Created the National Church Supply Company, National Baptist Choir, and National Baptist Marching Brass Band
Dr. Richard Henry Boyd (1843-1922), a former slave, founded the National Baptist Publishing Board (NBPB; 1896-Present) in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the chief accomplishments of this Renaissance man was his effort to preserve the music of former slaves and their descendants. Boyd sought to develop church materials that allowed Negroes to tailor the church services to their understanding and culture. In addition, he was a leader in the collection, production, and preservation of African-American church music.
Boyd began publishing hymns, tunes, and song books as early as the NBPB’s first full production year, 1897. The NBPB developed the National Baptist Hymnal (1903) and sold thousands of copies to the churches by 1905. The NBPB also published Golden Gems: A Song Book for the Church Choir, the Pew, and Sunday School (1901). Boyd and the NBPB developed Christian music, including Hail the Baptist Congress (1912), for the annual National Baptist Sunday School Congress and trained the Boy and Girl Cadet units to march into the Congress hall singing that song and chanting Bible verses. Boyd also created the National Church Supply Company, which sold, among other items, church organs to the churches. The NBPB’s newspaper, The National Baptist Union Review, advertised such church items and printed sermons and songs.
The year before Boyd’s death, the NBPB produced 7,526,522 pieces of literature including music. Boyd was also responsible for starting the National Baptist Choir and the National Baptist Marching Brass Band, which graced the annual ("Marching for Jesus") parades that preceded the annual National Baptist Sunday School Congress that was held in a different city of the United States every June.
In 2000, the NBPB was renamed the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation in honor of its founder Richard Henry Boyd. After four generations, Dr. R.H. Boyd’s legacy continues to influence Christian music across the world.
Inducted to the Music City Walk of Fame on April 19, 2009.