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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.


Property Name American Baptist Theological Seminary Historic District
Reference Number 13000399
State Tennessee
County Davidson
Town Nashville
Street Address 1800 Baptist World Center Drive
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 6/14/2013
Areas of Significance EDUCATION, ETHNIC HERITAGE: Black, RELIGION, SOCIAL HISTORY: Civil Rights Movement
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American Baptist Theological Seminary Historic District, located in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee (population ~626,680), is being nominated at the State level as a significant historic district under Criterion A in the areas of ethnic heritage, education, and religion as an African American theological seminary. American Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS) committed itself to Christian education and racial equality and fostered leadership among its students who went on to become prominent individuals in local and national civil rights efforts. Also under Criterion A, the district is significant for the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-twentieth century for its associations with the Nashville Student Movement, in particular, its ties to significant local and national Civil Rights leaders, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, C.T. Vivian, James Bevel, and Kelly Miller Smith. The success of the Civil Rights Movement in Nashville hinged on student involvement, and indeed, students would become the driving force in the movement as it pushed into the Deep South. John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette, C.T. Vivian and James Bevel were all students at ABTS who came to the movement under the guidance of Reverend Kelly Miller Smith. The bonds between these men were forged both in class during the day and late at night in Griggs Hall Dormitory. Although the most iconic images of Nashville's Civil Rights Movement took place downtown, those images would not exist without the American Baptist Theological Seminary, which provided these men with the foundational experience that set them on the path to become leaders and icons of the Nashville Student Movement and the National Civil Rights Movement.


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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria