Today, gospel music is a staple of Black churches, but when the genre was first introduced in the 1930s it wasn’t always accepted.
The birth and growth of gospel music in Chicago is the subject of the latest episode of WTTW’s documentary series, “Chicago Stories.” The episode follows Thomas Dorsey, also known as the “father of gospel,” as he came to Chicago during the great migration and brought the city his gospel blues.
Using rare historic recordings and contemporary performances, “The Birth of Gospel” explores the growth of gospel music from slavery to now.
“The documentary is really about the birth of gospel music in Chicago,” said producer Stacy Robinson. “ I think Chicago was really integral to the birth of gospel music for many reasons. I hope that everyone learns many things because I think that a lot of the story is unknown, but I really hope that the wider audience gets to look at gospel music and realize that it's much more than just performance. It's really integral to the history of African American history and culture and that dates back all the way to the Atlantic slave trade.”
“The Birth of Gospel” airs on WTTW and WTTW Prime throughout the month of May. See more online at WTTW: Chicago Stories.