B.B. McKinney
B.B. McKinney


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Baylus Benjamin McKinney

(b. Heflin, La., July 22, 1886; d. Bryson City, N. C., Sept. 7, 1952). Gospel song writer, evangelistic singer, teacher, and music editor. He was educated at Mt. Lebanon Academy, Louisiana; Louisiana College, Pineville, La.; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Tex.; Siegel-Myers School of Music, Chicago, Ill. (B.M., 1922); Bush Conservatory of Music, Chicago, Ill. Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Okla., awarded him the honorary Doctor of Music degree, 1942. He served in the United States Army in 1918. On June 11, 1918, he married Leila Irene Routh, to whom were born two sons, Baylus Benjamin, Jr., and Eugene Calvin. McKinney was music editor for Robert Henry Coleman, songbook publisher of Dallas, Tex., 1918-35. From 1919 to 1931, he taught in the School of Sacred Music at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, serving as assistant director of the school and professor of voice, harmony, and composition. He was assistant pastor of Travis Avenue Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Tex., from 1931 to 1935. In 1935 he became music editor of the Baptist Sunday School Board and became secretary of the newly created Department of Church Music in 1941. Under his leadership the board inaugurated an annual Church Music Week at the Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly (1940), fostered the practice of having a secretary of music employed by each state Baptist convention (1944), developed the Church Music Training Course (1946), and began the publication of the Church Musician (1950). Throughout his career McKinney led the music in revivals and assemblies and taught in schools of church music conducted by local churches. He was the author of the words and music of 149 gospel hymns and songs, and he composed the music for 114 texts by other authors. Some of his best-loved songs are "The Nail Scarred Hand" (1924), "Let Others See Jesus in You" (1924), "Satisfied with Jesus" (1926), "Speak to My Heart" (1927), "'Neath the Old Olive Trees" (1934), "Breathe on Me" (1937), and "Wherever He Leads I'll Go" (1937).

Biographical Sources:
Hastings, Robert J. Glorious is thy name: B. B. McKinney, the man and his music, 1986.
Powell, Paul R.. Wherever He leads I'll go: the story of B. B. McKinney, 1974.
Terry, Terry Carel. "B. B. McKinney, A shaping force in Southern Protestant music," 1981.

Archival sources in Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives:
McKinney, Baylus Benjamin. Papers, 1921-1967.

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