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Gospel Preview Screening & Discussion 

Join WITF at Shippensburg University on Thursday, February 8 at 6:30pm for a special sneak preview of GOSPEL, a new docuseries that explores the rich history of Black spirituality through sermon and song from executive producer, host, and writer, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

February 8, 2024
6:30 – 8:00pm

Ceddia Union Building
Shippensburg University

408 Lancaster Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257
Please park at the Luhrs Performing Arts Center. A WITF representative will escort attendees to the event in the Ceddia Union Building.


From the blues to hip-hop, African Americans have been the driving force of sonic innovation for over a century. Musical styles come and go, but there is one sound that has been a constant source of strength, courage, and wisdom from the pulpit to the choir lofts on any given Sunday: the gospel.

Marquis Lupton, host of The Melanin Report and co-host of The Spark, will moderate a community conversation with a panel of experts on topics raised in the film. Panelists include:

  • Elder Jamar Johnson, Youth Pastor at First Calvary Church of God in Christ in Coatesville, Pa.
  • Joshua Robertson, Pastor at The Rock Church in Harrisburg, Pa.
  • Rev. Dr. SimmieRay L. Niang-Dinkins, Associate Pastor at St. Phillips Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md.

You’ll also be treated to performances from Shippensburg University’s Harmonic Voices of Truth Gospel Choir.

This community event is FREE and open to the public, but your RSVP helps us plan a successful event.


Supported by

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More about GOSPEL:

In GOSPEL, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, speaks with dozens of clergymen, singers, and scholars about their connection to the music that has transcended its origins and now spreads “the good word” all around the world.

The series features interviews with notable names including Dionne Warwick, U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, Rev. Otis Moss III, professor Michael Eric Dyson, and awe-inspiring musical performances of Gospel favorites “Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus,” “Total Praise,” and others from talents including The Belle Singers, Cory Henry, Celisse, and more.

Gospel is more than the soundtrack of the African American experience, “it’s the beating heart and soul,” said Gates. “From the Great Migration to today, the history of Black gospel music and preaching is one of constant movement, and it’s long been a dream of mine to bring it to public television. We’re blessed to have such outstanding partners in delivering this series and concert at a time in our nation when the need for Gospel’s transcendent, healing powers is so great.”

Throughout its four hours, GOSPEL gives a look at the history of Black religious music and preaching, showcasing the symbiotic relationship of words and songs present in any Black church.

The series examines the origin of Black gospel music, which blended the sacred spirituals with the blues tradition and soared to new heights during the Great Migration. This music served as an outlet for the anger and frustration of living as a Black person in America, which remains true today. The series also explores the evolution of preaching styles over time, and the impact of class, gender, cultural innovations, and consumer technologies that shaped the development of gospel since its conception.


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