Black History Month: 8 influential African-American Christian leaders

T. Vaughn Walker

T. Vaughn Walker
Dr. T. Vaughn Walker, longtime professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and the first African-American to be elected as a full professor at an SBC seminary. |

T. Vaughn Walker was the first African-American elected as a full-time professor at a Southern Baptist Convention seminary, serving at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, for 30 years.

A native of Heathsville, Virginia, Walker was born in 1950 as the eldest son of Thomas and Mary Walker. In 1984, he earned a doctorate degree from Oregon State University and became an educator.

In 1986, Walker was appointed the first African-American professor at any Southern Baptist seminary, eventually being elected to the faculty in 1997.

Walker also served as senior pastor of the First Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville, holding the position from 1984 until his death in 2019.

At a luncheon celebrating his retirement from being a professor in May 2016, Walker said that he considered his signing the Abstract of Principles, SBTS’s statement of faith, as the “most compelling emotional moment for me here.”

“I know I was the first African-American, at No. 200, to sign it. I even wondered whether an African-American had ever touched that book before, had ever had his hands on it,” said Walker at the time.

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