How a Gospel Brunch Touched the Hearts and Souls of Oprah's Guests

Aired on 01/18/2015 | CC
While planning a gospel brunch for civil rights legends and honored guests, Oprah set out to re-create a memory from her childhood. "Growing up as a little girl, after Sunday service you [would] have what we used to call 'dinner on the ground,'" she says. "Everybody would be out there with, you know, the spirit of community and coming together and breaking bread."

Following an afternoon of soul-stirring music, Art Smith's famous fried chicken and conversation with civil rights icons, many of the attendees left feeling inspired. "You may not know how they changed the way you live now, but, literally, these people putting themselves in harm's way has changed the way America runs," says Ava DuVernay, the director of Selma. "It's gotten us on a certain momentum, and we just have to keep it going."

For legends like Myrlie Evers-Williams, Marian Wright Edelman and Juanita Jones Abernathy, the afternoon was a reminder of all that they have overcome. "It means a lot because, all during the movement, it was music that helped to carry us through," Juanita says.

Watch as luminaries like Sidney Poitier, the Rev. Joseph Lowery and more reflect on the weekend.

More from Oprah Winfrey Presents Legends Who Paved the Way

Learn more about OWN's special monthlong celebration of the civil rights movement