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

Walker, Thomas Vaughn

(born: 1950  -  died: 2019) 

Thomas Vaughn Walker, born in Heathsville, Virginia, was the oldest son of the late Thomas and Mary Walker. He was a minister, an educator at the college and secondary school levels, and a community leader. He was the first African American appointed to a regular professorship in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1986 when Walker became a faculty member at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. He was 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 was also 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 and the resulting 2005 book titled Breakout Churches. Walker was an active member of a number of community organizations and oversaw missions in countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Israel, Jordan, Germany, and the Bahamas. Walker wrote a number of journal articles and his book chapters include the co-authored work "Minorities and Spirituality" in the title Becoming Christian by B. Leonard. Walker was a 1972 graduate of Hampton University; he earned a M.S. from Eastern Illinois University and a M.Div/C.E. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; and he earned 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 Divisions. 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, 01/28/2019 [online].

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Cited in this Entry

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

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Walker, Thomas Vaughn,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 20, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-02-12 15:44:10