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Black church music has been around for centuries, but gospel only became codified as a genre about a century ago, as this jubilant film reveals. There’s plenty of archival footage that traces the history of the form through the lens of “father of gospel music” Thomas Dorsey, who wrote “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” the Martin Luther King Jr. favorite that figures prominently in “Summer of Soul.”

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Shot in 1972, when Aretha Franklin was at the height of her powers, the film was not released for decades because of litigation and production issues. Franklin was dead by the time it hit theaters, making the film even more poignant because of its footage of Franklin and a choir recording what would become the most popular gospel album of all time.

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