Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) is a private four-year institution in Little Rock, Arkansas. The college was founded as the Ministers Institute in August 1884 at the Annual Convention of the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas. It opened three months later at the Mount Zion Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1885 the school was renamed Arkansas Baptist College.
Arkansas Baptist College is the only Baptist Historically Black College and/or University (HBCU) west of the Mississippi River. In 1884 the executive Board of the Convention of Colored Baptists hired Reverend J.P. Lawson, a white Baptist minister from Joplin, Missouri, to serve as the principal and teacher. At the same time a block of land was purchased at 16th and High Streets within the Little Rock city limits where several buildings were erected. The campus remains at this site today. Old Main, the colleges administration building, which was completed in 1893, is the oldest structure in the state of Arkansas established for the purpose of educating African Americans.
The first president, Dr. Joseph A. Booker, served from 1887 until his death in 1926. He was succeeded by Rev. S.P. Nelson, Reverend R.C. Woods, and Reverend S.R. Tillinghast, respectively. Dr. Tandy Washington Coggs, the fifth president, served from 1937 to 1955. It was during the tenure of Dr. Coggs, in 1947, that the college received its initial two-year accreditation from the Arkansas State Department of Education.
In 2006 Arkansas Baptist College received four-year accreditation from the Commission on Higher Learning, North Central Association, and the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). ABC offers a variety of programs at both the associate and bachelors levels, including Business Administration, Public Administration, Human Services, Religious Studies and Christian Education.
Notable alumni include Dr. Emeral Crosby, the former President of the North Central Association of College Accreditation, Glenda Black,