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The Dramatic Story of the National Baptist Hymnal

A History Professor Shows How Historical Case Studies Can Help Us Gain Perspective and Rethink Ministry

In the late 19th century, African American Baptists had organized the National Baptist Convention as a means to facilitate foreign missions, home missions, and higher education. Out of the home missions agenda, came forth a publishing concern that would be called the National Baptist Publishing Board led by Richard Henry Boyd. Boyd’s vision was to produce Sunday school literature and a hymnal specifically for African American Baptists. When the first edition of the National Baptist Hymnal appeared in 1906 the hymns reflected the heritage of English hymnody as there were no Spirituals or other Public Domain songs included. This workshop explores the context of this hymnal, and possible reasons why it is a product of English hymnody.

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