American Baptist College Looks Through a Socially Conscious Lens

Dr. Forrest E. Harris American Baptist College President, left and Dr. Juan Floyd-Thomas Vanderbilt Professor

NASHVILLE, TN — American Baptist College (ABC), offers quality educational programs with a liberal arts emphasis, equipping diverse students intellectually, morally, spiritually, socially and theologically.  “Students are prepared to stand strong on a social justice & equity foundation, whether they go into a faith-based field, non-profit, education, civic engagement or other vocations.  They know the power of human justice,” said Dr. Forrest E. Harris, president of American Baptist College.  

While ABC garners a variety of resources from alumni, supporters and the community, officials believe it is equally important the institution provides substantive outreach within the community.  

The ABC night at Belcourt Theatre featured the movie, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” based on the book by James Baldwin.  It focused on socially conscious issues.  Attendees packed the theatre to view this highly-sensitive and relevant film.  Afterwards, the audience listened to a dialogue exchange between Dr.  Harris and Vanderbilt professor Dr. Juan Floyd-Thomas comparing and contrasting the scenes in the movie and the real life scenes in our lives now in 2019.  Social justice was a focus from the racial implications brought to the forefront in the movie.

“This event involved alumni, supporters and friends to experience this renewed focus on a basic societal premise ‘It happened and It’s Happening,’ said Dr. Harris.

ABC is involved in a variety of community activities that address social justice & equity, as well as faith-based activities.  The 62nd Annual Garnett-Nabrit Lectures, with the theme, Cultivating Leaders, Proclaiming Justice and Healing Communities, continued to demonstrate the nationwide outreach of the college.  In addition, the Nannie Helen Burroughs Scholarship Luncheon, which recognized outstanding women in the Nashville community, who continue to carry the torch of Mrs. Burrroughs’ life by recognizing her historical influence and innovative nature. Born in 1879. Mrs. Burroughs founded the National Training School for Women and Girls in Washington, DC and continued the pivotal work there until her death in 1961.

The Rev. Dr. Raquel S. Lettsome, an Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, from Warwick, NY, delivered a poignant speech about the relevance of Dr. Burroughs’ life.

The honorees were Retired State Senator Thelma Harper, Rev. Cora Alston, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings, Mrs. Sherri L. Neal, Judge Sheila J. Calloway and the 103-year-old Dr. Susie M. Newsome McClure. 

Student scholarship recipients were: Jacqueline Mayberry, Dominisha Black and Ester Mitchell.

Next year’s event is poised to continue the strength of this traditional lecture series.

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