MOLINE, ILLINOIS (February 16, 2021) WQPT invites viewers to join in virtual screenings of The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song. The documentary is a moving four-hour, two-part series from executive producer, host, and writer Henry Louis Gates Jr, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research. It traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, all the way down to its bedrock role as the site of African-American survival and grace, organizing and resilience, thriving and testifying, autonomy and freedom, solidarity and speaking truth to power.

The film reveals how Black people have worshipped and through their spiritual journeys, improvised ways to bring their faith traditions from Africa to the New World. Additionally, their faith translated them into a form of Christianity that was not only truly their own, but a redemptive force for a nation whose original sin was found in their ancestors’ enslavement across the Middle Passage.

“We are delighted to be working with our area’s black churches, who are helping to tell their stories through this documentary,” said Terry Wilson, WQPT Director of Development.

Local sponsorship and support of the program and its educational outreach is made possible by John Deere. Our partners are Western Illinois University, St Ambrose University, KALA 88.5 FM radio, and Moline Public Library.

Virtual Screenings are available February 19 at noon and February 21 at 3PM. Screenings are followed by a discussion led by Ryan C Saddler, Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, St Ambrose University.

Friday, February 19th at noon (all virtual — hosted by The Moline Public Library) — Discussion with:

Pastor Dr Melvin Grimes — Tabernacle Baptist Church | Moline, IL

Pastor P Wonder Harris — Mt. Zion Baptist Church | East Moline, IL

February 21, 3PM (virtual, hosted at Galvin Fine Arts — St Ambrose University) — Discussion with:

Pastor Dr Melvin Grimes — Tabernacle Baptist Church | Moline, IL

Pastor P Wonder Harris — Mt Zion Baptist Church | East Moline, IL

Pastor Joseph D Williamson III — Second Baptist Church | Rock Island, IL

Pastor Apostle Tawunya Hicks — New Water International Ministry | Davenport, IA

To attend, visit

To view the entire documentary on WQPT tune in February 25, 8PM, for Part 1 and March 4, 8PM, for Part 2. You can also watch using the PBS app.

WQPT is a public media service of Western Illinois University.

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher