VALLEY FORGE, PA (2/1/17)—Recognizing February as Black History Month and honoring this year’s “The Crisis in Black Education” theme, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) has added a commemorative page to its website that features a related video.
Titled “The Promise of Freedom,” the 20-minute informational video tells of the founding and supporting of industrial institutes, academies, colleges and seminaries for freed people following the Civil War by The American Baptist Home Mission Society, an ABHMS predecessor organization.
In 1862—the same year that Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation—the Home Mission Society’s board decided “to take immediate steps to supply with Christian instruction, by means of missionaries and teachers, the emancipated slaves.”
Records show that, by 1865-1866, 32 missionaries and 62 assistant missionaries were at work among former slaves, ministering to 4,000 students.
By the turn of the century, more than 25 educational institutions had been established, and 69 Baptist women worked in African-American schools and colleges from Alabama and Arkansas to Texas and Tennessee. In 1900, the aggregate enrollment in institutions aided by the Home Mission Society totaled close to 9,000.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists in answering God’s call to promote Christian faith across the United States and Puerto Rico to cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and heal and transform communities, by developing aligned action networks and programs.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.