How former slave R.H. Boyd founded a Christian publishing company which has thrived for 124 years

Michael Eli Dokosi May 18, 2020 at 11:00am

May 18, 2020 at 11:00 am | History, Success Story

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

May 18, 2020 at 11:00 am | History, Success Story

R.H. Boyd via rhboyd.com

Some men are great credit to their race, society, country and in Richard Henry Boyd’s case Christendom. The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation he founded has a longstanding tradition of producing, publishing, and distributing biblically sound and culturally relevant Christian education resources, materials, and church supplies for more than 123 years.

It’s even more noteworthy that this business entity which has survived five generations was started by Boyd who was born in Mississippi as a slave. Originally, Boyd was born Dick Gray in 1843 but he shed himself of his slave master’s name adopting the Richard Henry Boyd name after the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves. He moved to Texas as a freedman.

A deeply spiritual man, Boyd helped organize the Texas Negro Baptist Convention, also serving as pastor to several churches in Texas.

In the 1870s, Boyd attended Bishop College in Marshall, Texas and worked tirelessly to organize churches and freedmen Baptists across Texas. Rising in stature, Boyd served as a district missionary and became Educational Secretary of the Texas Negro Baptist Convention and a moderator for the Central Baptist Association.

It was in 1896 that he founded the National Baptist Publishing Board (NBPB), now known as R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation (RHBPC), in Nashville, TN. Since its inception, Boyd took great pride in meeting the needs of Christians, especially African-Americans. Soon enough various constituencies in Christendom trusted Boyd with their church, business, non-profit, and personal faith needs.

By 1904, he had founded the Citizens Savings Bank & Trust Company. National Baptist Congress Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress now known as the National Baptist Congress followed in 1906.

Upon the death of Rev. Dr. R. H. Boyd in 1922, his son, Dr. Henry Allen Boyd (1876-1959) became the second generation to lead the company. Under his leadership the company continued to flourish.

So successful was NBPB that by 1934, it was catering to the needs of “twenty thousand Sunday schools and eight thousand churches publishing more than twenty different hymnals and music books, a broad variety of Christian education materials, church supplies, and doctrinal resources for ministers and Christian workers.”

With Henry Allen Boyd’s passing in 1959, Dr. T. B. Boyd, Jr. (1917-1979) with military background became President/CEO.

With the 1960’s being the civil rights era, the publishing company provide instrumental in giving voice 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 L. Boyd served RHBPC well till he passed in 1979. The board of directors then appointed Dr. T. B. Boyd III as President and CEO. He became the youngest executive to hold the position in the 80-year history of the company. He had served on the Board of Directors of the Citizens Savings and Trust Company Bank. He became chairman of the board in 1982.

In year 2000, NBPB became known as the R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation with Dr. T. B. Boyd III noting that the positive impact of R.H. Boyd for over 100 years could not be overemphasized.

Today R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation has moved with the times, distributing eBooks worldwide through distributors such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo as well as investing in technological upgrades as well as its e-commerce platform.

Ms. LaDonna Boyd took over as President/CEO and Chairman of the Board of R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation after the retirement and transition to Chairman Emeritus status in October 2017 of Dr. T. B. Boyd III.

The R.H. Boyd Publishing Corporation remains committed to providing Christian and inspirational resources for African-American churches and communities across the country ensuring quality publications in Christian, educational, family, music, and historical publishing.

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