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“The Negro must furnish his Sunday school with religious knowledge, his choirs with music, and his firesides and parlors with wholesome literature, written and manufactures by his own energy... Whatever is taught in the Sunday schools of this generation will be the doctrine of the church in the next generation.”
— Richard Henry Boyd
Dr. Richard Henry Boyd was a pioneering clergyman, religious organizer, educator, banker, and inspiring leader. He was a strategic problem solver and sought to provide resources and business solutions to freedmen and women during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In 1896 he founded the National Baptist Publishing Board (NBPB), now known as the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation, in order to provide Christian education and supplies to churches across the country. He did so to give a platform to the Black voice in the religious experience, independent of the confines of the oppressor. His work was focused on training Black Baptist missionaries, teachers, and leaders using Christian education materials written by qualified Black scholars.
Dr. Boyd believed that business enterprise and economic freedom were essential for Black families to truly gain
independence. In 1902, Dr. Boyd and colleagues formed the National Baptist Church Supply Company. In 1904, he was one of the founders of the One Cent Savings and Trust Company, now known as Citizens Saving and Trust Bank in Nashville, TN. He also founded the Negro Doll Company (1905), the National Baptist Congress (1906), Union Transportation Streetcar Company (1906), the Nashville Globe (1906), Nashville Colored Young Men’s Christian Association (1917), and many other entities. The core of each business reflected needs of the time—innovation and entrepreneurship intersected to create opportunities and advancement for the community at large.
Within 10 years of founding the National Baptist Publishing Board, the company became the largest and most notable Black publishing enterprise with an impressive list of publications. Dr. Boyd was a leader in the fight for civil rights, and he also promoted home ownership, missionary work, and travel among Black people. His dedication to elevating the position of Black people in multiple areas of life, in addition to religious studies, solidifies his place in history as one of the pioneering leaders of the time.
His lasting legacy, entrepreneurial spirit, and mission have been the backbone of the work that R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation continues to this day.