Henry Allen Boyd


Henry Allen Boyd, founder of the Nashville Globe, was the son of Richard Henry Boyd, founder and manager of the National Baptist Publishing Board. As the son of one of Nashville's most prominent black businessmen and public figures, Boyd learned early the importance of both the political and economic struggle to create and protect Nashville's black “world-within-a-world.” In 1906 Boyd and three other local businessmen founded the Nashville Globe and later the Globe Publishing Company. Boyd assumed daily editorial charge, while his father's money (and frequent advertisements for National Baptist Publishing Board literature) helped to bankroll the paper. The Globe provided an invaluable record of Nashville's black community. By the late 1920s some 20 percent of the city's African American families subscribed to the Globe. The newspaper relentlessly advertised and promoted black businesses. From the largest undertakers to the smallest barbershops, Boyd ceaselessly advanced the idea that business enterprise offered the best mechanism to advance “the race.” The Globe's motto was “Nashville Offers Opportunity.” And, for Henry Allen Boyd, it did.

In addition to managing the Globe Publishing Company, Boyd also owned significant stock in the One-Cent Savings Bank (later the Citizens Savings Bank), a black-owned and -managed enterprise that practiced fiscal conservatism to protect small depositors and directed black capital into fruitful enterprises. Boyd also remained as politically active as the Jim Crow era would permit and served as the African American representative on various city boards.

Through the 1910s and 1920s, Boyd maintained the relatively aggressive editorial policy the paper originally had assumed during a streetcar boycott of 1905-6. Although the Globe operated primarily for the promotion of the black entrepreneurial spirit, the paper also publicized police abuses and provided a forum for local black protest. It demanded that more African Americans be added to the Fisk University faculty and protested the 1913 change from ward-based elections to at-large city elections, a move which diluted the black vote. A stalwart in local Republican Party politics, Boyd was instrumental in obtaining land grant money for what later became Tennessee State University. From the pages of his newspaper, he called attention to the pittance African Americans received for teacher education through the Peabody Fund and directed a campaign to build a black YMCA.

After the death of his father in 1922, Henry Boyd continued the elder Boyd's successful work in religious publishing. He produced one of the first African American religious hymnals, the National Jubilee Melody Song Book, which set to notation the nineteenth-century slave spirituals.

After a long and productive career, Henry Allen Boyd died in 1959, leaving behind a legacy of public service and a business tradition to the Nashville African American community.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title Henry Allen Boyd
  • Coverage 1876-1959
  • Author
  • Website Name Tennessee Encyclopedia
  • URL
  • Access Date July 20, 2024
  • Publisher Tennessee Historical Society
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 1, 2018