Skip to main content


Email share


PBS Western Reserve (WNEO 45.1 / WEAO 49.1):

Sunday, March 10, from 9 AM-2 PM
Monday, March 11, and Tuesday, March 12, at 8 PM
Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, at 1 AM


Following the blockbuster success of THE BLACK CHURCH: THIS IS OUR STORY, THIS IS OUR SONG, this new series from acclaimed scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores Black spirituality through sermon and song. 

From the blues to hip-hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. But, while musical styles come and go, there is one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage and wisdom. It is a message that resounds from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday — one of good news in bad times: gospel. 

Over the course of four episodes, GOSPEL digs deep into the origin story of Black gospel music that blended the sacred spirituals with the blues tradition and soared to new heights during the Great Migration. Since the time of the sorrow songs, Black sacred music has been a cathartic way to communicate the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America. 

The series also traces how preaching styles evolved from the musical “whoopers” to the slick TV-ready lectures of megachurch pastors. In addition, the documentary explores how class, gender, cultural innovations and consumer technologies — such as records, radio, television and the internet — shaped the development of Black preaching and gospel over the centuries. 

GospelExtended Trailer

GOSPEL explores Black spirituality in sermon and song.