How the church helped power strength, resistance in the black community

The black church, which was in part dictated by a segregated society, was a driving force behind the Civil Rights Movement and fostered a place of growth and politics in the black community.
4:55 | 06/20/20

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Transcript for How the church helped power strength, resistance in the black community
You have no right to put your knee on that neck. Last week, the world watched George Floyd's funeral and witnessed what black America has long known. The black church is more than a building. For centuries, it has been a safe house for the soul. Its roots run deep to the dark soil of slavery. We weren't allowed to communicate, so, when we could get together down by the Riverside late in the evening, when the work was over and call on our gods, it's where it all came together. When the slaves gained their freedom, the early black church became a place of resistance. Resistance that move from the sanctuary to the streets, the movement in the 1960s driven by the power of the church. At this church in Harlem, where the complexities have been celebrated for years. It provided social cohesion. It was the first place of economic development. First place of politics. And who was the major spokesperson? Generally, the preacher. Often overlooked, the voices of women in the church. There are so many unsung or underrated black female, both clergy. If it weren't for the fundraisers, and the women praying and the women holding up the pastors, where would the church be? The separateness from the black church from the white church was essentially from segregation. One of the shameful tragedies at 11:00 on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours if not the most segregated hours in Christian America. But today mega churches thrive through diversity in their congregations. Carl Lentz from hillsong, new York. I think the future is very loud, powerful black voices and white voices. We're a different America now. We have so many churches that welcome black people and white people to worship together. If you got a cup of black coffee, it's strong. If you want to make it weak, you put a little cream in it. Now pastor. He might not be too wrong. Because preaching comes out of passion. Preaching comes out of experience. We need all kinds of coffee, I know a few years ago you got in trouble. Oh, yeah. In circles when you said from the pulpit, black lives matter. Somebody said you have to say all lives matter. Not all lives are in question right here. What kind of push back did you get? A lot of white silence in every way. There's the power of people. In contrast to the civil rights movement of the '60s, the primary founders of the black lives matter movement are not clergy or men. I look to 2020 America and the black lives matter movement and others, and I hear people asking where today is the black church. Still here. And still important, say young activists like young activist, Chelsea more ton, daughter of a pastor. Black lives matter may not be clergy-led, but I do see the splashes of spirituality. I see the faith that is within the people because that faith, that drives people to hope, and that drives people to fight, and that drive people to move forward and say no more. Isaiah 1 says that we as Christians have to do good, seek justice and correct oppression. Not everyone has to be on the front lines of a protest, but, with your life you have to protest this. That's what being a Christian That sounds like Sunday, 11:00 to me. Yes, sir. So for centuries, the black church has stood proud and to protests and dreams deferred. When the dust settles and the smoke clears, there's going to be one central institution that's going to be key to people of African descent. That's the church.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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