American Baptist College announced on Thursday that it has been officially recognized by the federal government as the 98th historically black college and university in the country.
The North Nashville college, which was founded in 1924, appealed the U.S. Department of Education for recognition in June 2012. Education Secretary Arne Duncan's recognition of ABC opens up federal grant and funding opportunities for the school.
ABC’s mission statement includes educating students for Christian leadership, service and social justice. Bernard Lafayette, a civil rights activist who spoke at the announcement, said Martin Luther King Jr. had more ABC graduates on his senior staff than any other institution.
In addition to the HBCU recognition, ABC President Forrest Harris also announced an “unprecedented” $100,000 gift from Belmont University. The money will be used to set up the Belmont University Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will award scholarships to ABC students.
“We’re looking for us to lead with them and transform the way education happens in Nashville, so that we can supply the nation with the kind of social justice leaders that this school supplied the nation with during a critical time in its history,” Harris said.