Senate Resolution 69
• Resolved, That the Senate--
◦ (1) recognizes that African-American spirituals are a poignant and powerful genre of music that have become one of the most significant segments of American music in existence;
◦ (2) expresses the deepest gratitude, recognition, and honor to the former enslaved Africans in the United States for their gifts to the Nation, including their original music and oral history; and
◦ (3) encourages the people of the United States to reflect on the important contribution of African-American spirituals to United States history and to recognize the African-American spiritual as a national treasure.
“Mr. President, I rise today to submit a resolution honoring the African American Spiritual as a national treasure.... I am very proud to sponsor this resolution and grateful to the individuals who helped make this landmark occasion possible. In particular, I would like to thank Calvin Earl, a New Jersey native, who is a noted performer and educator on African American spirituals for his vision and dedication in helping make this resolution a reality.”-- U.S. Senator Robert Menendez
House Resolution 120
• Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
◦ (1) recognizes that African American spirituals are a poignant and powerful genre of music that have become one of the most significant segments of American music in existence;
◦ (2) expresses the deepest gratitude, recognition, and honor to the former enslaved Africans in the United States for their gifts to our Nation, including their original music and oral history; and
◦ (3) requests that the President issue a proclamation that reflects on the important contribution of African American spirituals to American history, and naming the African American spiritual a national treasure.
"And in much the same spirit of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, I want to say thank you to a good friend, a musicologist himself, for bringing to my attention the need for the Congress to honor this vital piece of our National Heritage, Calvin Earl. Calvin has dedicated himself to preserving and sharing spirituals with a new generation of Americans. Traveling the country, he builds on the traditional words and melodies to illuminate the history and complexity of this unique art form. It was from Calvin that I learned about this remarkable tradition....."
-- US Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
Gifts From My Ancestors
Calvin Earl’s heart-felt style and tremendous passion for presenting a larger vision of the African American Spiritual is delivered in a vivid portrayal of the spirituals in his one-man show “Gifts From My Ancestors” performed in universities, schools, concert halls, churches & community centers across America. His high energy message of hope, love and courage illuminates the historical significance of the spirituals past, as well as equally placing focus and insight on their value in our lives today. Considered a musical prodigy at the age of 9, Calvin’s frequent performances on local radio stations in Virginia and in his home state of North Carolina, expanded his popularity and led to his being spotted by the legendary Mahalia Jackson. He performed with her and many other Gospel singers including James Cleveland, The Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Shirley Caesar & The Caravans, Mighty Clouds of Joy, and the Dixie Hummingbirds, as a child and through out his teenage years.
Currently, now that the spirituals are officially recognized as an American National Treasure he continues to lecture and perform and is a major voice advocating and ensuring the legacy of the African American Spirituals and the oral history of the slaves are included in our current educational curriculum.