The Creative Underground and Bessie Smith Cultural Center presents James Weldon Johnson’s God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 6:00 pm.
God’s Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse is a 1927 book of poems patterned after traditional African American religious oratory. Johnson observed an absence of attention in folklore studies to what he called a “folk sermon,” then went on to describe its nature and specific examples from his memory:
“I remember hearing in my boyhood sermons that were current, sermons that passed with only slight modifications from preacher to preacher and from locality to locality. Such sermons were: ‘The Valley of Dry Bones,’ which was based on the vision of the prophet in the 37th chapter of Ezekiel; the ‘Train Sermon,’ in which both God and the devil were pictured as running trains, one loaded with saints, that pulled up in heaven, and the other with sinners, that dumped its load in hell; the ‘Heavenly March,’ which gave in detail the journey of the faithful from earth, on up through the pearly gates to the great white throne. Then there was a stereotyped sermon which had no definite subject, and which was quite generally preached; it began with the Creation, went on to the fall of man, rambled through the trials and tribulations of the Hebrew Children, came down to the redemption by Christ, and ended with the Judgment Day and a warning and an exhortation to sinners.”
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center or from any member of the Creative Underground beginning January 10, 2014.