The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, Part 2 Re-air

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, Part 2 Re-air

Sun, 03/28/2021 - 1:00pm - 3:00pm

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Credit: Courtesy of PBS

WXXI presents an encore of this two-part series that reveals the broad history and culture of the Black church and explores African American faith communities on the frontlines of hope and change.

Tracing the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song reveals how Black people have worshipped and, through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World, while translating them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage. 

The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, Part Two re-airs Sunday, March 28 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

See the Extended Trailer: 

PART ONE –  Sunday, March 21 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV

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.

PART TWO –  Sunday, March 28 at 1 p.m. on WXXI-TV

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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