In the United States of America, the month of February is denominated the Black History Month or African American History Month, continuing a tradition that started with the Negro History Week in the 1920s. Initially, this week was chosen to celebrate the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and of Senator Frederick Douglass on February 20, two leading figures in the abolition of slavery in the United States. Later on, this week was dedicated to the teaching of African American history at public schools. Eventually, with the joint efforts of School Associations, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the US Department of Education, this celebration were more widespread and became official. Currently, February is dedicated to celebrate the African American legacy, culture, science, history, and the achievements of African Americans who were able to overcome centuries of enslavement and oppression. In light of recent challenges to systemic racism and the need for more awareness about this history, many new initiative have been promoted to reflect on the African American contribution to the history of the United States.
On February 16, 2021 the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), a non-profit television network in the United States, presents a new documentary series in four parts, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This is Our Song.” Written, directed, and presented by Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Harvard University), this series builds on his celebrated TV series commenting on African civilizations, the African Diaspora to the Americas and Europe, and African American history in the United States. Among his successful series, the renowned Harvard scholar hosts the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” which explores genealogical connections, historical documentation, and narratives related to the African legacy in American culture.
The new series, “The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This is Our Song,” reviews four hundred years of history and dedicates much footage to the impact of African and African American traditions on Methodism in the United States. The series show the connections of the Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion, and the Christian Methodist Church to the struggle for freedom, emancipation, citizenship, and civil rights for African Americans in the United States. As Henry Louis Gates Jr. narrates this historical process, he also dedicates much time to music and to education, referring to Methodist schools, highlighting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), showcasing African American church leaders, and interviewing renowned scholars – some of them affiliated to Methodist institutions members of IAMSCU.
For more details see the PBS website: https://www.pbs.org/