Pastor Dwight McKissic and Other Black Southern Baptists Call for SBTS to Remove Names of Slaveholders from College Buildings

In this undated file photo, the Rev. Dwight McKissic of Arlington speaks in chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary . | (Photo: SWBTS / Margie Dolch, File)

Prominent black Southern Baptist pastor Dwight McKissic and others are calling for the removal of the names of former slaveholders from buildings at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“Just registered with me, that the college at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky, Dr Al Mohler, President, is named after a slave master, and a man who’d spoken with great disregard for people of African descent. Integrity demands that SBTS change the name,” McKissic, who leads Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, wrote in a tweet on Juneteeth when many people generally celebrate the anniversary of the day the last group of slaves in the United States were told of their freedom on June 19, 1865.

McKissic’s initial call to rename Boyce College, the private college located at SBTS, comes amid a general cry from activists across the country for the removal of statues of slaveholders from public spaces as well as their names from buildings.

Boyce College, according to the school’s website, derives its name from James P. Boyce, founder and first president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is remembered as a Southern Baptist statesman, who sought to innovate the world of theological education by making it more convictional, rigorous, and accessible.

In the Report on Slavery and Racism in the History of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, it was noted that the seminary’s founding faculty — Boyce, John A. Broadus, Basil Manly Jr., and William Williams — all owned slaves. Together, they owned more than 50 persons and invested capital in slaves who could earn for their owners an annual cash return. The seminary’s early faculty and trustees also defended the righteousness of slaveholding.

Current SBTS President Albert Mohler previously noted in June 2015 that he had no intention to remove the names of any of the founders from the school’s buildings.

“I intend to keep those names on our buildings and to stand without apology with the founders and their affirmation of Baptist orthodoxy. But those names on our buildings and college and professorial chairs and endowed scholarships do not represent unmixed pride. They also represent the burden of history and the urgency of repentance. We the living cannot repent on behalf of those who are dead, but we can repent for the legacy that we would otherwise perpetuate and extend by silence,” Mohler said.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair