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