Introduction: Faith in the Hood (02:20)
Southeast — located just a few blocks from Capitol Hill — is the poorest and most crime-infested part of Washington, DC. Cameras follow residents to examine their spiritual life and understand the challenges faced in poverty-stricken communities across America.
Shaping Black Life (02:17)
Just one sit-down restaurant serves the 65,000 residents of Southeast, but there are hundreds of churches. Wallace Best of Harvard Divinity School discusses the central role that church plays in the black community. Rev. Eugene Rivers discusses black churches in the context of slavery.
Street Preacher (02:51)
Ellis Melvin blames Southeast’s bad reputation on overly negative press coverage. Melvin preaches at a small church he opened after serving time in prison. He also runs a halfway house for ex-convicts with drug problems where there is an incident.
Evening Church Service (04:21)
Best draws a correlation between suffering and the number of churches in a community. Rivers wonders how much worse off black America would be without its 65,000 churches. A passerby is drawn to Melvin’s sermon and has an emotional reaction to his message.
Redemption Ministry (03:36)
Spiritual Elegance Salon owner Lattia Owens disputes negative stereotypes about Southeast residents. Owens later performs at the non-denominational, storefront church she attends. Its founder and pastor is Anthony Motley, a former drug dealer. Owens is a graduate of the church’s entrepreneurship program.
Changing Neighborhood (04:27)
Redemption Ministry’s Brenda Shields and Motley recall a time when business was common and crime was low in Southeast. Motley says it is difficult to get residents to take ownership of their community. Princeton University’s Eddie Glaude discusses factors contributing to inner city decay.
Camp Dynamite (05:27)
Neighborhood kids attend a summer camp in rural Maryland. The camp is run by Bob Mathieu, the pastor of Anacostia Gospel Chapel. Mathieu, who is white, discusses his experiences living in the black community. Camp spiritual director Tony Yates recalls a near death experience.
End of Camp (04:51)
Counselor Fred Grimes talks to some of the male campers about sex, recalling a time when he was promiscuous. Yates delivers an inspiring sermon. Glaude discusses the “existential resources” that are necessary to overcome adversity.
Religion in Black Life (07:08)
Best discusses the prevalence of churches in black communities. He and Glaude discuss the appeal of Christianity to slaves, and Willie Wilson of United Temple Baptist church discusses their covert “hush harbor” religious practice. Glaude discusses the relationship between race and religion.
Black Political Class (01:05)
Glaude discusses W.E.B. Dubois and passages from “The Souls of Black Folks” that are about the leadership of black preachers. He says there has been an emergence of a black leadership class that is not indebted to black religious institutions.
Black Muslims (07:23)
Muhammed Abdul Malik, who attends Masjid Muhammad Mosque, recalls a Muslim store owner who became his mentor. The Nation of Islam originally had little connection to how Islam is practiced in other parts of the world, but it attracted black followers in America with its strong Afrocentric message.
Clara Muhammad School (06:13)
Imam Yusef Saleem runs a Muslim elementary school in Southeast. He discusses self-determination and the impact the environment has on black children. The kids pick up trash in the neighborhood. Samuel Amir Sharif, also of Clara Muhammad School, discusses stereotypes that black Muslims face.
Need for Church (02:21)
Rev. Rivers characterizes the black church as “the premiere sovereign institution of black America.” Faith is a buffer between the black poor and nihilism and decay, he says.
Credits: Faith in the Hood (00:49)
Credits: Faith in the Hood
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