spiritual perspective on tv

African American spiritual journeys

From the earliest days of slavery in the United States—through the Civil War, Jim Crow laws in the South, marches and demonstrations to achieve full civil rights, through the rise of black Christian churches, the Nation of Islam, and a recovering of ancestral religions such as al-Islam and Yoruba—African Americans have been sustained and strengthened during the last 300 years by an unwavering faith in God. Next week, over three nights (June 24–26), PBS stations across the United States will air a six-part series that explores this spiritual history, This Far by Faith—African-American Spiritual Journeys.

As the first scene opens, the narrator frames the context for the series: "There's no word for religion in many African languages, for in a traditional African view of the world, there is no place where God is not. The gods of Africa came to the Americas in the dark, sweltering holds of slave vessels. Though toil and sorrow awaited Africans on the other side of the ocean, theirs was a spirituality that could not be stripped away."

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Room for understanding
June 16, 2003
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