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The History of the Black Church in America

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
PBS

Henry Louis Gates Jr. traces the 400 year old history of the Black Church in America. In part two of this series, discover how the Black church expanded to address social inequality.

9pm Thursday THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG

Throughout the series, viewers are transported by songs that speak to one’s soul, by preaching styles that have moved congregations and a nation, and by beliefs and actions that drew African Americans from the violent margins of society to the front lines of change.

The Black Church

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song explores the changing nature of worship spaces and the men and women who shepherded them from the pulpit, the choir loft, and church pews. Here, the churches Gates visits are both a world within a world, where Black Americans could be themselves, and the epicenter of the freedom struggle that revolutionized the United States across slavery and abolition, Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the Great Migration and civil rights movement. We see much of this world expand to politics, culture, and education, as churches are born, denominations are fractured, and leaders are made and critiqued in their quest to bring the Word to the world and the world to a higher ground. At once a liberating and conservative center of power, the church in Gates’s telling is at a crossroads today, torn between social issues and justice, human rights and inequality, secular and spiritual trends, the past and future, prompting many to wonder whether the churches of our parents and grandparents have become closed off to the most important issues of our time. The Black church has taken us from the valley to “the mountaintop”, and as some of the most influential Black voices of our time reflect on the meaning of the church in their lives and the country’s, the series contemplates where the “promised land” is for this generation and the next.