Segments in this Video

Love and Marriage (07:24)


The ensemble sings "Somebody's Calling My Name." During a slave wedding ceremony, the couple jumps the broom. Slaves create the African American spiritual, incorporating African theology, Christianity, and pigeon English.

Songs with Double Meanings (07:12)

Singing "Steal Away" signals rebellion and when Harriet Tubman's Underground Railroad was nearby. Nat Turner hides for two months after inciting an insurrection. "Wade in the Water" communicates to runaways that bloodhounds were nearby.

Runaway Slaves (05:47)

The ensemble sings "Deep River." A slave plans to run away when someone sees Black Moses nearby. Penalties for running away include losing a foot, a beating, or lynching.

Lynching (04:58)

A mother grieves over the death of her son. An actor sings "There's a Better Day A-Coming."

Credits: Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 3 (01:09)

Credits: Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 3

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Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 3

Part of the Series : Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera
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There is no music more beautiful, more compelling, more American than Black Sacred Music. It is the soul of the Black Church and the Black Church is the foundation of the Black Community. This program from Tony Brown's Journal is the third part in the Thank God four-part series that started out as a documentary on the African oral tradition which manifested on these shores largely as America's indigenous music. As the scenes unfolded and research progressed, there was more and more music, presenting a picture of how the African slaves learned to sing the Lord's song in a strange land.

Length: 27 minutes

Item#: FMK167333

Copyright date: ©1985

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.