Arkansas Baptist College, originally named the Minister’s Institute, was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of Arkansas during their annual convention at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Little Rock. The primary objective of the institute was to raise the educational level within the negro ministry. The secondary objective was to aid the state in making higher education available to young negro men and women. Most of the school’s students were trained in the ministry and today, Religious Studies continues to be one of the College’s major areas of matriculation.
In April 1885, the College’s name was changed to Arkansas Baptist College, and the school moved to 16th and High Street where the campus is currently located; however, the formal address is now 1621 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive.
Thirteen presidents have served as institutional leaders of Arkansas Baptist College from 1887 through 2016. In August 2016, The Arkansas Baptist College Board of Trustees selected Dr. Joseph L. Jones as the College’s 14th President. As president, Dr. Jones’ promise to the College is to continue the College’s efforts to remain steadfast in its journey becoming recognized as an outstanding institution of higher education.
Arkansas Baptist College is an urban Historically Black College located in the historic Little Rock Central High District. It also neighbors the Wright Avenue District and the famous Paul Lawrence Dunbar Junior High School. The College is the only Baptist affiliated Historically Black College west of the Mississippi and has a student population close to one thousand from all across the United States. Founded in 1884 as the Minister’s Institute, the College continues to be supported by the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention.