From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Walker, Thomas Vaughn

(born: 1950  -  died: 2019) 

Thomas Vaughn Walker, born in Heathsville, VA, was the oldest son of Thomas and Mary Walker. He was a minister, educator at the college and secondary school levels, and community leader.

He was the first African American appointed to a regular professorship in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1986 when he became a faculty member at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. A tenured professor, Walker oversaw both the Doctor of Ministry program in Black Church Leadership and the Ph.D. program in Black Church Studies.

Since 1984, he also served as the Senior Pastor of the First Gethsemane Baptist Church in Louisville. The church, founded in 1910, has grown in membership, missions outreach, and vision; it was chosen as one of the 13 congregations included in Dr. Thom Rainer's research in the 2005 work  Breakout Churches.

Walker was an active member of a number of community organizations and oversaw missions to  countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Israel, Jordan, Germany, and the Bahamas.

Walker wrote a number of journal articles as well as book chapters, including the co-authored work "Minorities and Spirituality" in Becoming Christianby B. Leonard.

Walker was a 1972 graduate of Hampton University, earned a M.S. from Eastern Illinois University, a M.Div/C.E. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and his Ph.D. from Oregon State University.

Vaughn Walker Way, a street in Louisville, was named in his honor. In 2000, he received both the Community Service Reconciliation Award and the Heritage Award, Black Church Development Division. In 2006, Walker was recognized by the Kentucky Senate [SR 209]. 

This entry was submitted by Cheryl Walker, wife of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker. Additional information is used with permission from the vita of Dr. T. Vaughn Walker. See also A. Hanbury, T. Vaughn Walker, 'history-making' prof dies at 68," Baptist Press, 1/28/2019 [online].

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NKAA Source: Breakout churches: discover how to make the leap
NKAA Source: Becoming Christian: dimensions of spiritual formation

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“Walker, Thomas Vaughn,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2021-01-11 21:19:46