Winner 1994

Wade in the Water: African-American Sacred Music Traditions

National Public Radio, The Smithsonian Institution

The sacred traditions of 19th and 20th-century African-American music comes alive in this series of 26 programs, which required five arduous years of production led by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Smithsonian curator and founder of the singing group “Sweet Honey in the Rock.” The rich and often under-appreciated tradition of African-American culture is demonstrated through its gift of music; a magic that emanated across the airwaves in this historic production. This program combines considerable talents of producers and National Public Radio with historians at the Smithsonian Institution, including Dr. Reagon, Sandra Rattley-Lewis, Judi Moore Latta, and Sonja Williams. This distinguished radio series carefully traces the origins of spiritual music to bring a clear understanding of how different styles of African-American song have blended together to create new sounds and new traditions. For bringing a comprehensive and historically important examination of African-American music tradition to the airwaves, a Peabody to Wade in the Water.