Calvin Earl
As A Singer / Songwriter / Guitarist / Storyteller / Activist - I Share The Stories And Music Of Our Americana Musical Heritage & History.

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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