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History of the Sermon (1989)




Genre: Newsmagazine

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 1989-02-12

Duration: 00:15:51

Subjects: Religion | African American churches


  • Masingale, Sonya Host
  • Pitts, Walter Interviewee
  • Finister, Willie Speaker


This segment from the February 12, 1989, episode of the series “Folks” features Sonya Masingale’s report on the history of the sermon in the black church in the United States. She interviews Dr. Walter Pitts, an anthropologist at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, who discusses: the history of the black folk sermon; the African and European influences on the sermon; the structure of the sermon; possession trances in the black folk church; and the purpose of religious rituals. This report also includes footage of Reverend Willie Finister delivering his weekly sermon at Mount Canaan Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.