Baylor University will create an endowed professorship to study of African American liturgical worship traditions. The endowment will be funded with a generous gift from the Prichard Family Foundation and Ella Wall Prichard of Corpus Christi, Texas.
Additionally, Baylor has committed to increasing scholarship in the areas of Black homiletical traditions.
The new Lev H. Prichard III Chair in the Study of Black Worship will work closely with the university’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. The University’s announcement comes amid attempts by Baylor to reconcile its institutional past on race and pave a new way forward that includes diverse voices from all communities.
Currently, Baylor already has a national reputation in the field of Black Gospel music through its Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, which recently appeared in the highly acclaimed PBS documentary “The Black Church.”
The project is among the world’s largest initiatives to identify, acquire, digitize, and catalogue vinyl records of Gospel music’s golden age. The long term goal is to digitize every gospel record from the 1940s-1980s.
Additionally, Baylor has partnered with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C, to help house some of the materials and serve as a permanent exhibit.
The Prichard’s most recent gift of $1.5 million will be matched by an anonymous donor.
Currently, the university has named the inaugural holder of the Prichard Chair which will be housed in Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary, School of Music.
The as-yet-unnamed holder of the Prichard Chair will coordinate research efforts and promotion of the Black Gospel Restoration Project collection through Baylor’s Truett Theological Seminary, School of Music and other academic departments.
Baylor President Linda Livingstone said, “The Prichard Chair will further Baylor’s work in the preservation of Black Gospel music, but it will go beyond that; the chair will open new areas of research into the cultural significance and into the history of Black worship and the church in America.”
Source: Baptist News