Celebrate the African American spirituals 10th anniversary as a national treasure with me! In February 2007 the African American Spirituals were recognized by the US Congress as an American National Treasure in Twin Resolutions: H. RES. 120 and S. RES 69. In February 2017 during Black History Month we now celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the passage of this historic legislation. It was an honor for me to receive the American Flag that flew over the US Capitol Building February 7th, 2007 when the House of Representatives passed H. RES 120 recognizing the African American Spiritual as a National Treasure, and honored the slaves for their contributions to our nation with our deepest gratitude and respect. Take a look at this video: don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for new exciting videos on the power of the spirituals and our cultural heritage and history! Building on a dream together……
Are we forgetting the secret and sacred voices of our ancestors? When you don’t know you are history, you don’t know about your ancestors awe inspiring capabilities, their triumphs, or their powerful spirit that succeeded in overcoming the impossible. If we don’t know where we came from how can you possibly know who you are or where you are going? Our slave brothers and sisters, abolitionists and the soldiers of the Union Army gave us the gift of freedom, seems to me if we’re not careful our freedoms today are melting away pretty fast. This is not a black story or a white story, this is a we the people story. I don’t know about you but I’ll be a slave no more to corporate greed and fear mongering. Learn from our ancestors.
I love the African American Spirituals. They saved my life, so I wanted to save them! I want to share with you my successful journey securing support in the US Congress to recognize the African American Spirituals as an American National Treasure in 2007. The slaves used these secret and sacred songs not only as a healing tool for themselves, but also the songs secretly ensured a path to freedom for themselves and future generations. I was inspired and determined to find a way to honor the slaves and their beloved original music.
In 2006, I became the Honorary Spokesperson for the Twin Resolutions I presented to the US Congress to recognize the African American Spiritual as a National Treasure and honor the slaves for their gifts to our nation with our deepest gratitude and respect. It took people willing to lend their support and their voices in joining me in my dream to recognize the African American Spiritual a National Treasure. Watch this video as we successfully ensured the passage of H. RES. 120 and S. RES. 69 by unanimous vote in 2007! Continue the celebration of our beloved National Treasure!
The spirituals were created by the slaves as a way to have a one on one conversation with God. As human beings we all need a way to find comfort, and a way to feel that our lives matter, the slaves were no different. No one wants to be invisible and unappreciated. The fact is, their lives of servitude were paramount to the survival of a new nation, without their labor, the founding fathers wouldn’t have the financial means to put forth their bold agenda for our fledgling nation. However, in real time for the human beings labeled slaves, their value was limited to their labor, and their worth as fellow human beings was obliterated by the social strategy to consider the slaves only 3/5th’s human. The slaves had no voice, they were not allowed to keep their African culture, not allowed to use their sacred drums to create music as they had done for thousands of years in Africa because their new masters knew they were able to communicate with the drums, so it was strictly forbidden. The slaves were taught Christianity and they actually related to the stories in the Bible with Moses leading his people to freedom. They clearly understood that there was a force we call God far greater than themselves, so they reached out to God in these songs for comfort, justice and unconditional love their souls knew belonged to them in spite of the self image they were taught to believe about themselves.
As the Christian Franciscan priest – Fr. Richard Rohr states: “By contemplation we mean the deliberate seeking of God through a willingness to detach from the passing self, the tyranny of emotions, the addiction to self-image, and the false promises of this world. It is a journey into faith and nothingness. The ordinary rules of thinking, managing, explaining and fixing up the self do not apply here. It is a search for God, a love of the larger Truth, and not the mere manipulation of ideas and feelings inside the private self. Contemplation is the “divine therapy” and the perennial clearinghouse for the soul. All the great world religions recognize it’s necessity in their more mature stages. For Christians, it is Jesus’ sojourn in the desert for forty days and Mary’s Let it be done unto me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38).
For the slaves, the spirituals were “divine therapy” and “the perennial clearinghouse for their souls.” Make no mistake, the spirituals were a path to freedom for the slaves. And as they sung to God through a moan and groan, the cry was so deep God heard, and His comfort gave the slaves strength, courage and the grace to go on in the fight to free themselves from the label of being called a slave not only for themselves but for generations of their children not yet born.
Peace and love all around. Calvin