Your 21st century Publisher
The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation was begun with the belief that God-inspired visions do come true. How else can it be explained that a black man, a former slave in fact, dared to dream of starting a publishing concern at the turn of the 19th Century.
After the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, R.H. Boyd moved to Texas as a freedman. He secured a job as a rough–riding cowboy. After several years, he began to work in various mills and obtained the status of foreman. He began to teach himself how to read and write and joined Hopewell Baptist Church in 1869 in Navasota, Texas. He was baptized and accepted his calling to the Gospel ministry, setting himself on a course that would both make and change American history.
In 1865, R.H. Boyd helped to organize the Texas Negro Baptist Convention. He also organized and served as pastor to several churches in Texas. R.H. Boyd married Miss Harriett Albertine Moore. It was also in the 1870's that he attended Bishop College in Marshall, Texas and worked tirelessly to organize churches and freedmen Baptist across Texas. R.H. Boyd and others organized the Lincoln District Baptist Association of Navasota in 1875 and the Western Baptist State Convention. He served as a district missionary and became Educational Secretary of the Texas Negro Baptist Convention and a moderator for the Central Baptist Association in 1879.
It was in 1895 that Richard Henry Boyd, along with the Texas General Missionary Baptist Convention, first sought to establish a means of supplying Sunday School literature to the black Baptist in the state of Texas. It was there that Dr. Boyd's dream began. Determined to extricate black Sunday schools from their dependence on northern white Baptist, he gained support for his publishing venture by urging blacks to publish Baptist materials for blacks written by African-American men and women.
Armed with his dream, and no small amount of hard work and persistence, Dr. R.H. Boyd arrived in Nashville, Tennessee on November 7, 1896. He discussed the dream that had been in his heart for over five years with the Reverend C.H. Clark, who became his comrade in Christian education publishing for African Americans.
It was about a year later that Dr. Boyd and a band of faithful associates, working out of a cramped two-room suite, completed their first mailing, which included 5,000 circular letters, order blanks, and return envelopes. In 1897, the company moved to their first real offices, housed in the Brown Building, before permanently locating to the Victorian-style W.H. Leickhardt house on Market (now Second Avenue) and Locust Streets.
In 1903, the company was the only Christian publishing house to print a Sunday school lesson commentary, still being printed today as Boyd's Commentary. Other publishing houses later followed suit. In 1904, the Reverend Dr. Boyd organized the National Baptist Sunday School Congress to become a "beacon light" of Christian education for churches across America. In that same year, Dr. Boyd founded the National Negro Doll Company and was one of the founders of the One-cent Savings and Trust Company Bank. In 1920, to modernize, the name was changed to Citizens Savings and Trust Company Bank. It holds the distinction of being the oldest continually operating banking instruction owned and operated by African Americans.
In 1905, R.H. Boyd began the Globe Publishing Company, the National Baptist Church Supply Company, and the Union Transportation Company. Under Dr. Boyd's leadership, the NBPB would build a school and four Baptist churches in the Panama Canal Zone as well as sponsor two missionaries there. The Reverend R.H. Sherburne and his wife Bessie Martin also ministered to these churches.
By 1906, the National Baptist Publishing Board had become America's largest black publishing concern. The company's Christian education materials and its reputation in publishing and Baptist ministry work had become nationally and internationally known. After selling 10,000 copies of the National Baptist Hymnal in one year alone, the company published a pocket-sized edition.
In 1922, after the death of Dr. R.H. Boyd, his son, Dr. Henry Allen Boyd (1876-1959) became the second generation to lead the company. He implemented new operational procedures and the company continued to flourish. By 1934, the company was servicing 20,000 Sunday schools and 8,000 churches. It published over 20 different hymnals and music books, a broad variety of Christian education materials, church supplies, and doctrinal resources for ministers and Christian workers.
Dr. Henry Allen Boyd was among the influential business leaders responsible for locating Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State Normal College for Negroes (Tennessee State University) in Nashville. The university has been in Nashville since 1912.
Dr. Henry Allen Boyd may be best remembered for his work with the annual Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress, organized by his father in 1904. He developed the Congress into one of America's major black religious events.
Dr. Boyd and his wife Georgia Bradford Boyd dedicated themselves to the development of Congress programs for children. The couple was heavily involved in a movement to train and discipline black children stigmatized by slum conditions, lack of good schools, and home training. The company joined the Woman's Auxiliary "Save the Boys" movement and organized the A.G. Cadets, a Girls' doll club with uniforms, and the Negro Dolls. At the annual Sunday School Congress, thousands of black youngsters learned biblical knowledge and discipline through the A.G. Cadet Drill and Exhibition, Sunday School superintendents, and teacher and usher training. The Sunday School Congress sessions also included other workshop topics.
Dr. T.B. Boyd, Jr. (1917-1979) followed in his uncle's footsteps by becoming a member of the company's board of directors in 1955. Dr. T.B. Boyd Jr. was a graduate of Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College, the very institution his grandfather and uncle had worked so intently to establish. After returning from military service in the United States Army in the mid-1940's, T.B. Boyd, Jr. began his career with the company as a linotype operator in the composing room and became the understudy to Dr. Henry Allen Boyd.
By the early 1960's, Dr. T.B. Boyd, Jr. had modernized operations and doubled the size of the corporation. Literature produced by the company began to be shipped to ministries and markets overseas.
During the 1962 National Baptist Sunday Sunday School & Baptist Training Union Congress session, Dr. T.B. Boyd, Jr. implemented the Department of Christian Education, which expanded the national organization tremendously.
Giving service to his community as well as the company, he became a member of the Metropolitan Nashville Human Rights Commission, chairman of the board of directors of Citizens Savings and Trust Company Bank, and maintained membership in many national agencies such as the NAACP and the National Urban League. He was named one of the most important leaders of the South. Dr. T.B. Boyd Jr. accepted the call to serve as pastor of the Greater Salem Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the first executive of the company who continued to pastor a church for an extended period of time.
Dr. T.B. Boyd. Jr. plunged into completing plans for the construction of a new publishing and printing facility. In December 1974, the project was completed, and the company located to a million-dollar, ultra-modern facility on Centennial Boulevard in Nashville, Tennessee.
The publishing company was a leader in the forefront of the national civil rights and social agenda, giving strong support to the National Baptist Convention of America, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. Dr T.B. Boyd, Jr. and his wife Mabel lkajfkl ja Boyd were involved in the community and were partners in marriage and ministry. He served the company to the fullest of his ability until his untimely passing in 1979.
Knowing the legacy must continue, in 1979, the board of directors appointed Dr. T.B. Boyd III President and Chief Executive Officer. He became the youngest executive to hold the position in the 80-year history of the company. A year earlier he had been elected to the Board of Directors of the Citizens Savings and Trust Company Bank. He became chairman of the board in 1982.
Due to Dr. T.B.Boyd III's prudent leadership and guidance, the company has remained constant in its commitment to furnish the finest in literature written by the pens of African Americans. This commitment enables the company to be recognized as the leading producer, of religious literature and church supplies for the African American market. The company specializes in the development of contemporary Christian education materials for churches and families, which provide positive African-American imagery and nurturing Christian values.
After the company's centennial, Dr. T.B. Boyd III announced the development of a new enterprise to honor its founder – The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation. In addition to printing and publishing, the corporation also includes a variety of workshops as a part of it services. The RHBPC will focus its operations more toward endowments and church relations. The national endowment fund will continue to provide scholarships and grants annually to a number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) dropout America. "We are very excited about this new and exciting publishing venture. The fact that we are repaying homage to a man whose life and ministry created such positive impact in lives and communities across America, the Caribbean islands, and the Panama Canal alone, for over 100 years is befitting honor", said Dr. T.B. Boyd III.
The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation remains deeply committed to ensuring quality publications in Christian, educational, family, music, and historical publishing. The corporation markets a complete range of religious products from Sunday School literature and Vacation Bible School ministry to leadership development and small group ministry aids, to its renowned New National Baptist Hymnal, a worldwide best-selling collection of Christian music. Now, the corporation is launching an expanded music resource, the New National Baptist Hymnal 21st Century Edition. Our expanded hymnal features 800 pages, including hundreds of popular and classic hymns.
R.H. Boyd began a company that a century later has flourished into an internationally recognized producer of Christian education materials. Were it not for one black man's resolve to bring his dream to fruition, our company may have remained hostage to that vast jungle known as potential.
The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation will continue to be an asset not only to the African-American community, but to the entire nation and throughout the world, for this institution has truly been a global name in publishing for over 100 years. We're more than a company ... We are a tradition!