The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song
Journalism professor Bob Darden, B.S. ’76, who founded and directs Baylor’s Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP), was featured in Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s latest documentary — The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song.
The documentary series, which first aired Feb. 16-17 on PBS, traces the 400-year history of the Black church in America and the role the church has played in the lives of African Americans as a pillar of Black culture and heritage. Gates’ research led him to the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, which Darden spearheaded more than 15 years ago to preserve recordings of Black gospel music from the 1940s to the 1970s.
The collection holds more than 14,000 archived songs, albums, cassette and videocassette tapes, album covers, recording labels and sermons. Darden anticipates the Gates documentary will introduce a national audience to the work of the Baylor gospel music collection and — as with past national coverage in press and public radio — may bring even more historically valuable material to it.