It doesn’t matter if you’ve already watched the four-hour docuseries, there is still plenty to learn and celebrate and that’s exactly what we will be doing at the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College next Saturday, March 2.  

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 was a cathartic and confidential way to communicate the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America. Even in the 21st century, gospel continues to evolve and remains a source of cultural affirmation and sustenance, bringing an enduring tradition into the future. The series traces how preaching styles evolved from the musical “whoppers,” 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.  

If you are in the Metro Atlanta area, you will not want to miss this free community event that will feature clips from the film, performance by the Morehouse College Glee Club, and discussion with Rev. Dr. Dwight Andrews and Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale.  

Dwight Andrews and Henry Louis Gates

A native of Detroit, Dr. Andrews is Professor of Music Theory and African American Music at Emory University and Senior Minister of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Atlanta. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the University of Michigan and Master of Divinity and Ph.D. in music theory at Yale University. He has taught at Harvard, Rice, Spelman College, and Harvard where he was named the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African American Music.  

Andrews is the recipient of numerous awards, including 2024 Composers Now Visionary Award, a 2023 Governors Award in the Arts and Humanities, a 2005 Lexus Leader of the Arts Award, a Pew Trust/TCG Artist Residency Fellowship, a Mellon Fellowship, Emory University's Distinguished Teacher Award, and the Yale Tercentenary Medal from the Yale Club of Georgia. He has served on the Pulitzer Prize Committee for Music and the NEA Jazz Masters Award Committee.  

Andrews' film credits include PBS Hollywood’s The Old Settler, directed by Debbie Allen and starring Phylicia Rashad, Louis Massiah’s documentary films, W.E.B. DuBois: A Biography in Four Voices and Louise Alone Thompson: In Her Own Words, and the theme for Sam Pollard’s PBS documentary on African American contributions to the arts in the twentieth century entitled, I’ll Make Me a World. He has served as consultant on the PBS/Henry Louis Gates documentaries The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song (2021) and Gospel (2024). 

Rev Dr Cynthia Hale Headshot

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale is the founder and Senior Pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia. A native of Roanoke, Virginia, Dr. Hale received a Bachelor of Arts in music from Hollins University, a Master of Divinity degree from Duke University, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological seminary.  

As a recipient of numerous honors and recognitions, Dr. Hale was inducted into the African American Biographies Hall of Fame, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College, and the Atlanta Business League Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a recipient of the National Urban League’s “Women of Power” award, the Preston Taylor Living Legacy Award, the Balm in Gilead Keeper of the Flame Award, and she was recognized on Ebony Magazine’s “Power 100” list as one of the nation’s most influential African American leaders. In 2009, Dr. Hale was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships. She also served as a member of the 2016 Platform Committee for the Democratic National Convention and delivered the Invocation at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. 

Dr. Hale is a contributing writer for many books and publications including, Power in the Pulpit II: How America’s Most Effective Black Preachers Prepare their Sermons and the preaching resource series, Feasting on the Gospels. In January 2010, she authored her first book entitled, I’m A Piece of Work: Sisters Shaped by God. Dr. Hale presently serves as the Chairperson of the IC3 Conference Board, the President for the Hampton University Ministers’ Conference, a member emeritus of the Board of Visitors of the Divinity School at Duke University, a member of the Board of Trustees at Hollins University, a member of the UNCF NFEI Advisory Council and a member of the Welcome.US Council. Dr. Hale is an active Lifetime member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. 

This event is free and open to the public, advance registration is requested.