Segments in this Video

Freedom at Last (05:37)


The number of insurrections increases. Owners leave to fight in the Civil War. Yankees arrive on a southern plantation and free the slaves.

Music Diverges (05:38)

A great migration to the north occurs after fear of lynching pervades the South. James Weldon Johnson writes hymns and becomes the first secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Rhythm and Blues becomes popular in the 1950s.

Church Changes (05:01)

Baltimore hangs a woman for teaching a slave to read. Hymnal books drain the emotion from African American singing; many turn to the Pentecostal Church. The Ensemble sings "He's the Joy of My Salvation."

Society After World War I (05:55)

Race riots occur across the country. Thomas A. Dorsey, the father of black gospel music, plays the honky-tonk circuit under the moniker, Barrelhouse Tom. The choir sings "I'll Overcome Someday."

"We Shall Overcome" (04:02)

The choir and parishioners sing the hymn for liberation. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker concludes his sermon and the program.

Credits: Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 4 (00:59)

Credits: Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 4

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Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera — Part 4

Part of the Series : Thank God: An African-American Docu-Opera
3-Year Streaming Price: $49.95



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 final 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: 28 minutes

Item#: FMK167334

Copyright date: ©1985

Closed Captioned

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