As a young man in the late 1800s, James Weldon Johnson was profoundly influenced by the sermons he heard by the renowned black preachers of the day. Later in life, he transformed his memories into magnificent poems about Creation, the Flood, the Crucifixion, the Prodigal Son, Noah's Ark, Judgment Day, and other stories from the Bible. Published in 1927, during the Harlem Renaissance, God's Trombones became one of Johnson's most celebrated works.
In the early 1990s, several of New York City's most prominent African-American ministers gave voice to Johnson's words for a PBS broadcast. Now this celebration of one of the great literary achievements of the Harlem Renaissance features moving performances by actor Joe Morton (Brother From Another Planet, actor Robert Earl Jones (father of James), and Reverend Calvin O. Butts of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, among others.