Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • -My next guest is an Emmy and Peabody winner

  • who hosts "Finding Your Roots" on PBS.

  • You must watch this.

  • He is also the host and executive producer of

  • "The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This is Our Song."

  • It's available now on PBS.org and the PBS app,

  • and there's a companion book for the series, which is out now.

  • Here he is, Henry Louis Gates Jr.

  • It is so nice to meet you.

  • Thank you for being on our show.

  • Do you prefer being called Dr. Gates or Henry?

  • -No, no, you can't call me Dr. Gates,

  • 'cause if you had a heart attack and we're on an airplane,

  • you're just gonna die.

  • I don't have that kind -- I'm a PhD.

  • Everybody calls me Skip.

  • When my mother was carrying me, she was reading a book,

  • and the protagonist's name was Skip.

  • And so I've been Skip, Skipper, Skippy my whole life.

  • -I love the name Skip. Alright, perfect.

  • Then I will call you Skip. You can call me Jimmy.

  • -Okay, Jimmy.

  • -This is our first time meeting, but I'm a fan of yours.

  • I know Questlove was on your show "Finding Your Roots"

  • a few years ago, and he had an incredible experience.

  • -Oh, my. It's one of our most dramatic episodes.

  • Questlove is the only African-American who knows

  • the name of the ship that his enslaved ancestors

  • were brought to America on.

  • Look, everybody since Alex Haley has wanted to know,

  • everybody black has wanted to know

  • where they were from in Africa.

  • He knows where they were from

  • and the ship that they were brought here on.

  • He's sui generis.

  • He's the only person I know of whom that's true.

  • It was a deeply moving experience for both of us.

  • -I heard that "Finding Your Roots" led you to

  • appearing in a couple of episodes of "Watchmen" on HBO.

  • How did that happen?

  • -Well, I kept getting letters from this guy

  • named Damon Lindelof, right? -Yeah.

  • -And I had no idea who he was.

  • And I just -- you know, I'm too busy.

  • We're filming "Finding Your Roots" all the time.

  • And he said, "I'm making a show called 'The Watchmen.'"

  • I didn't know anything about the series,

  • and he said, "I have to put you in it."

  • And I was thinking, "For what?

  • You know, you want a Harvard professor in it?"

  • He goes, "No, no, just meet with me."

  • So I invited him to dinner.

  • And he said, "Look, I saw your series 'Many Rivers to Cross,'"

  • which has a scene about the demolition of

  • the black Wall Street, the Tulsa, Oklahoma, riots in 1921.

  • And he said, "We are going to make the Tulsa riots

  • the key to this story, and then someone has got to give people

  • DNA tests to see if they're descended from anyone

  • who was killed in the Tulsa riots,

  • and, if so, they get reparations.

  • So we're going to cast you as the Secretary of the Treasury,

  • and you're going to -- because of reparations,

  • and you're going to give them DNA tests."

  • And I had no idea how big "The Watchmen" was.

  • I have received more fan mail from that little appearance

  • in "The Watchmen" than anything I've ever done before.

  • -Yeah. -So it was a great honor.

  • -But you also have another great series.

  • This is a documentary called "The Black Church"

  • about the history of the black church in America.

  • -Yeah. I wanted to make this series because --

  • You remember the murders at Mother Emanuel AME Church

  • in Charleston when the guy named Dylann Roof went in.

  • It was a Wednesday night prayer meeting,

  • and he prayed with these nine people,

  • including Reverend Clementa Pinckney,

  • for an hour, and then he killed them.

  • He killed nine of the people who were gathered there.

  • And I did the last interview with Reverend Clementa Pinckney

  • for "Many Rivers to Cross,"

  • and so it affected me profoundly and personally.

  • And I started doing research on this church.

  • It turns out that Mother Emanuel AME Church

  • was ground zero for black power during Reconstruction

  • when the Civil War ended.

  • There was a black AME minister in Brooklyn

  • named Richard Harvey Cain,

  • and he moved to Charleston and rebuilt the church.

  • The church had been torn down completely by white racists

  • in 1822 because there was a slave insurrection there.

  • A man named Denmark Vesey, who actually had won the lottery

  • and bought his own freedom, if you can believe that,

  • and then he and some of his friends were accused of planning

  • a slave insurrection in 1822,

  • and they completely demolished the church.

  • In 1865, Richard Harvey Cain comes back, rebuilds the church.

  • And, Jimmy, he hires Denmark Vesey's son to be

  • the architect to rebuild the church.

  • -What?! -Yeah, and you can't beat that.

  • So Richard Harvey Cain starts a newspaper

  • and then runs for office, and he was elected to Congress.

  • He's one of the 16 black men elected to the Senate

  • and the House of Representatives during Reconstruction.

  • So the church was a center for every conceivable institution

  • that black people built.

  • So, really, I wanted to tell this story in honor of

  • Reverend Clementa Pinckney and the eight other people

  • who were murdered by Dylann Roof.

  • -What an amazing story.

  • It's called "The Black Church:

  • This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song."

  • I do also want to mention that

  • Oprah gets a little credit for the title of this?

  • -Big time.

  • I was having an argument with Stacey Holman,

  • our series producer, and she wanted to call it

  • "The Black Church: How We Got Over" after --

  • There's a black hymn.

  • How I got over

  • -Yeah, beautiful. -And I love it,

  • but I also love "Blessed Assurance,"

  • which is almost an anthem for black churches.

  • And one of its refrains is "this is my story, this is my song."

  • So I thought it would be perfect to change it

  • to "This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song."

  • So I said, "Okay, I know how to resolve it.

  • I know one person who knows a little bit about marketing.

  • Her name is Oprah Winfrey."

  • So I sent Oprah an e-mail.

  • The next morning I turn my cellphone on,

  • and there's a voicemail message.

  • And I hit the button, and it was Oprah.

  • And what I heard was...

  • This is our story, this is our song

  • I called Stacey and said -- I played it.

  • I said, "The state rests."

  • -That is wild. It is a fantastic series.

  • You do a great job. I want to show a clip.

  • Here is a look at "The Black Church."

  • -I think the black church was the thing

  • we were totally in charge of.

  • We didn't have any external forces

  • that had to give us permission.

  • Whatever we wanted to do, it was up to us.

  • It was ours.

  • -In the first decade after the Civil War,

  • thousands of black churches sprouted throughout the South

  • to unify and uplift a community

  • that had been divided and degraded in bondage.

  • -My thanks to Henry Louis Gates Jr.

  • I call him Skip.

  • An encore of parts three and four of "The Black Church"

  • air tomorrow night on PBS.

  • You got to watch this, folks. It's so good.

  • The entire series is available on PBS.org and the PBS app.

  • His book "The Black Church" is also available now.

  • Thank you so much for coming on, and, please,

  • tell your daughter I said hello, will you?

  • -Thanks for having me on your show, and I promise I will.

-My next guest is an Emmy and Peabody winner

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 TheTonightShow church black oprah skip reverend

Oprah Helped Henry Louis Gates Jr. Settle on a Title for His New Series The Black Church

  • 0 0
    林宜悉 posted on 2021/02/23
Video vocabulary