From the Background to the Forefront: Women and the Black Church

One of the major themes to emerge from the PBS documentary The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song is the often-overlooked roles Black women play in strengthening that institution. This episode of Inspired examines why the root of the problem and how it hinders the Black church’s relevance to contemporary women. Guests include series director and producer Stacy Holman and director and producer Shayla Harris, and Dr. Yolanda Pierce, a theologian featured in the documentary who studies Black women’s lived faith experiences.

This is Our Story, This is Our Song: The Making of “The Black Church”
Stacy Holman and Shayla Harris are producers and directors of the new Henry Louis Gates, Jr. documentary series The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song, currently streaming on PBS. They describe how they got involved with the project and what they hope its four hours impart about the most powerful institution in Black culture — the Black church. Both women wanted to bring a sense of history and urgency to the project, a balance between the importance of the church in American history and the impact it now wields on Black life and beyond.

The Black Church at a Crossroads: White Supremacy, Politics and More
The conversation continues with The Black Church documentary series producers and directors Shayla Harris and Stacy Holman. They describe the precarious position the Black church is in today, wedged between the recent resurgence of white supremacy and a new flourishing of its political power. 

In Her Grandmother’s House: Black Women in the Black Church
One of the featured scholars in The Black Church is Dr. Yolanda Pierce, dean of Howard University’s divinity school and a womanist theologian. Dr. Pierce grew up in the Black church and describes how women keep that institution strong and growing, despite being often unwelcome in the pulpit. If the Black church is to remain relevant, it must confront its history of sexism and integrate the wisdom and perspective of women into the theology.

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