Calvin Earl
I Travel The Back Roads Of America In Search Of Our Americana Musical Heritage & History.

Believe In Your Dreams Coming True!

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Today is the 7th anniversary of when the United States Congress “Recognized the African American Spiritual as a National Treasure” and “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”

As I sat in the gallery on February 7, 2007 watching this process unfold, I was taken back by the magnitude of the event, but more importantly I felt a huge debt of gratitude to our ancestors who had made it possible for me to even be sitting in the US Capitol building with an idea that I wanted to honor my ancestors. The fact that I presented this idea to members of the US Congress who then embraced it and presented Twin Resolutions to the entire US Congress, seems impossible for a kid born is a sharecroppers cabin.  It’s amazing if you have the faith and believe in something enough you can do it. So as I watched the House  pass this resolution to honor the slaves who in their time didn’t have a voice, I trembled with joy as I had just witnessed America in one of her finest hours.
Thank you Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for believing in my idea and sponsoring the resolution in the House of Representatives . Thank you Congressman John Lewis for your huge heart, and your fortitude to protect the integrity of our ancestors for all these years. Thank you Senator Menendez for sponsoring the resolution in the Senate. And thank you to all who lent your support to my idea. It just goes to show you that if you believe in it enough, and are willing to work hard you can do anything. That is what our ancestors did, they came together to build a country that now belongs to all of us. The question is where do we go from here? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness  seems to me a great place to start. I love you all for your gracious support of my work all these year to honor the slaves, these amazingly beautiful, giving and productive people who were human beings first and slaves second. I applaud you for going beyond the fear and stigma implied to the institution of slavery  and join me as we looked at all our ancestors, of all diversities and see the faces of Americans. Peace & love all around, Calvin Earl

Everything Is Possible If You Believe In It

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Everything is possible if you believe in it. That’s why I’m beyond excited to share with you my conversation with a great American Hero. Imagine me, a kid born in a sharecropper cabin having the opportunity to speak with one of our Nations greatest Civil Rights Leaders & Humanitarian. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!

7th anniversary of the US Congress Recognizing the African American Spirituals As A National Treasure

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February 7, 2014 will be the 7th anniversary of the US Congress Recognizing the African American Spirituals As A National Treasure. I wanted to share with you a video I made with Dr. Dorothy I. Height(1912-2010) who stood with me, advised me and gave me her full measure of support before and after the legislation passed. For me it was a great privilege to know her as a friend, a mentor and a strong advocate for my work to ensure the Spirituals would be recognized as a National Treasure. She was an extraordinary American and a champion for Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, & Human Rights. Every President and every member of the US Congress in her decades of service and her legendary leadership as President & Chairwoman of the National Council of Negro Women, knew her and respected her strength and fortitude and sought her advice. She never gave up, that’s what she liked about me! I will forever cherish our conversations.

Historic perception: Victims or Heroes?

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Sometimes I find myself getting discouraged by the lack of interest and responsibility we have to preserve our albeit imperfect yet extraordinary national cultural heritage & music. I have asked myself this question a million times: What can I do or what can I say that will loose the chains of bondage we are still in today that keeps us from knowing our awe inspiring slave brothers & sisters who endured slavery in this country?…………then as my despair reaches a low point,  as luck would have it, I find a letter of support on my desk  from Dr. Dorothy Height, one of America’s greatest Civil Rights leaders sent me in 2005 that turns my despair into determination to keep going once again.  Here is a quote from her letter:

       “The continuing legacy of those historic songs helped bind us together, gave us courage and  helped  us march together during the Civil Rights Movement. I believe as you do that this is historical and cultural information which should be preserved. Since it is not, you are performing an essential public service and for this you should be commended. 
 
Your talents have brought exposure and life to America’s first true art form. It is our social responsibility to preserve the culture that our forefathers died for. W. E. B. Debois stated so poignantly about this music: ‘it still remains as the singular spiritual heritage of the nation and the greatest gift of the Negro people’.
 
Know that you are an important educational resource. Keep up the good work.”
— Dorothy I. Height 
Chair & President Emerita 
National Council of Negro Women, Inc


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