The Black Church

Coshocton Public Library and WOUB Public Media Host “The Black Church” Event

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Screening and panel discussion was held on February 22

ATHENS, OH – Panel discussions don’t normally end with one of the panelists singing Amazing Grace, but that’s exactly what happened after a screening of the PBS program The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song hosted by the Coshocton Public Library in partnership with WOUB Public Media.

The four-hour documentary series, hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., reveals the broad history and culture of the Black church and explores African American faith communities on the front lines of hope and change.

The virtual screening and discussion were held on Monday, February 22 in honor of Black History Month. Dr. Carolyn Bailey Lewis, Ph.D., the first woman and first African American to lead WOUB Public Media and an ordained minister, and Dr. J.W. Smith, Ph.D., professor of Speech Communication at Ohio University, talked with those who attended about the importance of the Black church in African American culture. And when talking about the importance of music in the church, Smith, who is also a professional gospel singer, was asked if he would sing for the group.

“It was just amazing to hear his beautiful voice, and with his singing, he really brought the impact of the music to our discussion,” said WOUB Community Engagement Manager Cheri Russo.

“We are so thankful that these accomplished panelists viewed the screening with our library patrons and talked about the importance of the Black church to bring about a deeper understanding,” said Coshocton Library Adult Services Manager Megan Baughman.

The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song premiered in mid-February on WOUB but will air again on March 2 beginning at 8 p.m. It is also available to stream for free on for a limited time.