Arkansas Baptist College

Coordinates: 34°44′6″N 92°17′26″W / 34.73500°N 92.29056°W / 34.73500; -92.29056
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Arkansas Baptist College
Main Building, Arkansas Baptist College
Former names
Minister's Institute (1884)
TypePrivate historically black college
Religious affiliation
PresidentCalvin J. McFadden, Sr.
Location, ,
United States

34°44′6″N 92°17′26″W / 34.73500°N 92.29056°W / 34.73500; -92.29056
NewspaperThe Baptist Vanguard[2]
ColorsPurple & White
Sporting affiliations
Old Main Building, Arkansas Baptist College
Arkansas Baptist College is located in Arkansas
Arkansas Baptist College
Location in Arkansas
Arkansas Baptist College is located in the United States
Arkansas Baptist College
Location in United States
Location1600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Little Rock, Arkansas
Arealess than one acre
Built1893 (1893)
Part ofCentral High School Neighborhood Historic District (ID96000892)
NRHP reference No.76000457[3]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPApril 30, 1976
Designated CPAugust 16, 1996

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is a private Baptist-affiliated historically black college in Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 1884 as the Minister's Institute, ABC was initially funded by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas. It is the only historically black Baptist school west of the Mississippi River. The Main Building on its campus, built in 1893, is one of the oldest surviving academic buildings in the state,[4] and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.


The college was founded in 1884 as the Minister's Institute, and was initially funded by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas.[5] The first principal and teacher was Rev. J.P. Lawson, a white Baptist minister from Joplin, Missouri.[5]

The first president served from 1887 until his death in 1926, Joseph Albert Booker; Booker was formerly enslaved and he was a newspaper editor.[5] Booker was an influential educator and he actively fought against the segregationist policies in Little Rock.[6]

Shortly after Booker became president, the Arkansas Baptist College acquired land at the southwest corner of 16th Street and High Street (now MLK Street),[5] where they built wooden structures that burned down on March 2, 1893. The campus remained at that site,[5] and the cornerstone for the Old Main building was laid on November 2, 1893, but it took several years to complete the building.

The campus has changed over the years, and in 1913, it included a 3-story boys’ dormitory, a manual training building, and the president’s home. In the 1930s, the campus added an education building which housed the library, classrooms, offices, The Baptist Vanguard newspaper print shop, the business department, and the biology room. By 1950, the campus included Old Main, the education building, the boys’ dormitory, an administration building, gymnasium, and two more classroom buildings.


In 1947, during the tenure of president Coggs, the college received its initial two-year accreditation from the Arkansas State Department of Education.[5]

Arkansas Baptist College was accredited by the Higher Learning Commission in 1987. In February 2014, the Commission placed the college on notice that it was at risk for being out of compliance with the commission's criteria for accreditation. In August 2015, the commission gave the college a "Show-Cause" order to present a case that its accreditation should not be withdrawn. The order was withdrawn in November 2016.[7] The commission placed the college on probation in 2019 for failing to meet the accreditation criterion that requires the institution to have adequate resources.[8] In 2022, the college was placed on a three year probation again.[9]

Old Main Building[edit]

Old Main (built 1893), the college’s administration building, is the oldest building in the state of Arkansas established for the purpose of educating Black students.[5] Initially, Old Main building housed the kitchen, dining hall, and the home economics department in the basement; offices for the president, the registrar, the business manager, and the dean, as well as the chapel and the girls’ dormitory on the second and third floors. The building was topped by a bell tower, used to signal class periods; however in 1965 the original bell tower was removed.

The Old Main Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976 and is part of the Central High School Neighborhood Historic District.[10] It was added to the NRHP because it is the oldest building on a historically African-American college campus in the state of Arkansas, and because it is an excellent example of Second Empire-style architecture.[10]



The Arkansas Baptist athletic teams are called the Buffaloes. The college is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing as an NAIA Independent within the Continental Athletic Conference since the 2021–22 academic year.

Prior to joining the NAIA, the Buffaloes were a member of the Bi-State Conference (Bi-State) within the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) until after the 2020–21 school year.

Arkansas Baptist competes in ten intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track & field and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, soccer, softball and track & field.

Notable alumni[edit]

See also Category: Arkansas Baptist College alumni

Notable alumni of Arkansas Baptist College include:


  1. ^ "College Navigator - Arkansas Baptist College". Retrieved October 15, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Baptist Vanguard". NYPL Digital Collections. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System – (#76000457)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "NRHP nomination for Main Building, Arkansas Baptist College". Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Davis, Edmond (March 1, 2011). "Arkansas Baptist College, Little Rock, Arkansas (1884– )". Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  6. ^ Baker, Russell P. (November 8, 2023). "Joseph Albert Booker (1859–1926)". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. Retrieved November 26, 2023.
  7. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status as of April 11, 2017". Higher Learning Commission. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  8. ^ "Public Disclosure: Arkansas Baptist College status changed from "Accredited" to "Accredited – On Probation"" (PDF). Higher Learning Commission. February 28, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2020.
  9. ^ a b c "Arkansas Baptist College hires a new president". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. January 3, 2023. ISSN 1060-4332. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  10. ^ a b "Main Building, Arkansas Baptist College". NPGallery, Digital Asset Management System.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i "About". ([better source needed]). Archived from the original on November 27, 2023.
  12. ^ Williams, Bettye J. (January 22, 2020). The Pioneers: Early African-American Leaders in Pine Bluff, Arkansas: Freedmen, Newly Freed, and First/Second Generation, Born from 1833-1892. Archway Publishing. pp. 262–263. ISBN 978-1-4808-7192-2.
  13. ^ "Man who died had notable relatives". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. June 30, 2020. ISSN 1060-4332. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  14. ^ "Obituaries: Israel Dunn Jr". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. October 9, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  15. ^ Evelyn, Jamilah (June 10, 2005). "President Resigns at Ark. Baptist College". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982.
  16. ^ "Omon Fitzgerald Hill". Arkansas Democrat Gazette. April 13, 2008. ISSN 1060-4332. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  17. ^ a b Brock, Roby (September 4, 2018). "Arkansas Baptist College names interim president, new board member". Talk Business & Politics. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  18. ^ "Arkansas Baptist College Fires Its President". Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. December 18, 2017. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  19. ^ "Former Arkansas Baptist College president files lawsuit for breach of contract". KATV. July 25, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  20. ^ "The New Leader of Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. January 2, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  21. ^ a b "Once Again, Regina Favors Selected to Lead Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. November 1, 2021. Retrieved November 27, 2023.

External links[edit]