American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware

The Promise of Freedom


In conjunction with this month's PBS premiere of “Tell Them We Are Rising”—a documentary about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)—American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) encourages American Baptists to view “The Promise of Freedom,” ABHMS’ own video about HBCUs that were founded by ABHMS predecessor organizations. 

“The Promise of Freedom” details The American Baptist Home Mission Society’s and Woman’s American Baptist Home Mission Society’s founding or assisting of 27 U.S. institutions of higher education for individuals freed following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863.

Institutions featured in the video include Virginia Union University, Richmond; Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.; and Morehouse College, Atlanta. Today, ABHMS remains affiliated with 16 colleges and universities as well as 10 seminaries and theological schools throughout the United States.

“ABHMS enjoys a rich legacy in education, as evidenced by its founding of HBCUs, especially at a time when it was not the norm for African Americans to have the opportunity to further their education,” says ABHMS’ Victoria Goff, who served as the video’s associate producer in 2003, when ABHMS was known as National Ministries. “Working on the video allowed me to learn firsthand of this wonderful educational ministry of which many people are unaware. American Baptists around the world should be proud to know that they are part of a denomination that values education and that generations have benefitted from and will continue to benefit from the foresight and determination exhibited so many years ago.”

The Promise of Freedom” can be viewed online at or click below!

To receive a free copy of “The Promise of Freedom” DVD, please email ABHMS’ Sue Peterman at