Annual gospel music celebration honors the late Derrick Bell
On January 26, the First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn Choir, directed by Amy Neuner, performed at NYU School of Law for the Bell Annual Gospel Choir Concert, "Gospel Music and Legal Education: Evolving Faith in a Secular World." The late Professor Derrick Bell traditionally organized this annual event, which always contained a mixture of song and spoken word. This year's performance was dedicated to his memory.
Among the songs performed this year were "Sweet, Sweet Spirit," "Guide My Feet," and "Woke Up This Morning With My Mind Stayed on Freedom." Interwoven with the musical performance, Janet Dewart Bell, wife of the late Derrick Bell, and James Johnson, chair of the board of directors for the Brennan Center for Justice and partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, read excerpts from Bell's last lecture.
"This evening's program, which Derrick thought of and designed, seeks to ease your fears and lift your spirits through music, much of it created hundreds of years ago," said Janet Dewart Bell in her introduction. "The creators of this music did so while held in a brutal slavery and yet, some among them, by interweaving melody, and lyric, and songs of faith, were able to transcend the awful oppression which transformed their lives."
Watch the full video of the event (1 hr 24 min):
Posted February 6, 2011