The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song: Season 1 (2021)


Season 1
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song

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Episodes

Air date: Feb 16, 2021

Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. explores the roots of African American religion, beginning with the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the extraordinary ways enslaved Africans preserved and adapted their faith practices under the brutal realities of human bondage. As an awakening of Protestant Christianity spread in the 18th century, Black Americans embraced a vision of a liberating God and Black churches that would become bedrock institutions in the long struggle to dismantle slavery, culminating in the Civil War. With Emancipation and Reconstruction, independent Black churches flourished and helped the formerly enslaved navigate a perilous freedom by fulfilling the social, educational, financial, cultural and political needs of African Americans. Dr. Gates speaks with noted scholars, public figures and religious leaders about faith and the struggle for rights in the midst of growing racial violence that would continue well into the 20th century. Key figures include founder Richard Allen and preacher Jarena Lee of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; abolitionist Frederick Douglass; influential religious figure Henry McNeal Turner; and pioneers Virginia Broughton and Nannie Helen Burroughs of the National Baptist Convention.

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Air date: Feb 23, 2021

The series continues with the Black church expanding its reach to address social inequality and minister to those in need, from the exodus out of the Jim Crow South during the Great Migration to the heroic phase of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and '60s. After the violent loss of leaders like the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., many Black churches found themselves at a crossroads -- struggling to remain relevant in an era of increasing secularization while reckoning with urgent social and cultural issues within their congregations and broader communities. The series brings the story of the Black Church up to the present -- a time of renewed struggle for racial justice in America. Host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviews prominent figures across African American society, including celebrities Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Hudson, and John Legend; Bishops Michael Curry, Yvette Flunder and Vashti Murphy McKenzie; Rev. William Barber, and more.

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News & Interviews for The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song: Season 1

Critic Reviews for The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song Season 1

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (5)

The series brings that story to the present - a time of rejuvenated racial justice protests in America.

Feb 18, 2021 | Rating: A | Full Review…

"The Black Church" can't quite get the present moment into focus either - Black Lives Matter, the racial crisis of the right here-right-now. What does come into focus is that resonant message. The Black church is the story of America.

Feb 17, 2021 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Black directors, producers and on-camera talent at their helms-and, not coincidentally, a disinclination to sugarcoat the devastating effects of systemic racism to appease white viewers.

Feb 22, 2021 | Full Review…

Though The Black Church is fast-moving, Gates' research is expansive, and he leaves nearly no detail on the subject unturned.

Feb 17, 2021 | Full Review…

Immediately you can sense what a personal experience it is for [Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr.], but he also makes the viewer part of that by tying American history to the evolution of the Black church.

Feb 16, 2021 | Full Review…

Brilliant docu reveals role of the Black church in America.

Mar 4, 2021 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

It's not an unblemished chronicle. Even as Gates tracks the infusion of Christianity into African traditions preserved during slavery, he acknowledges the sexism that kept women out of the pulpit for centuries, among other contradictions.

Feb 17, 2021 | Full Review…

A well-paced, well-researched look into how impactful religion in the Black community has been, stretching back to the earliest days of our country's history.

Feb 17, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song: Season 1

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