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


It takes courage and resolve to know who you are and where you came from. The end result is freedom and pure joy for the soul, because it helps you discover your life’s purpose that serves others and yourself well. The American story is like a patchwork quilt. It is made up of different patterns, colors, and separate pieces of cloth. Carefully the separate pieces are sewn together to make a beautiful quilt, that will be passed down in families generation after generation. Like the quilt, our stories bind us together as people. Like the quilt it took every slave and every non-slave to build this great country we live in today. As an American I am deeply grateful to all our ancestors. Their courage and dedication is inspiring. Freedom is a gift they paid forward so that we all might live free one day.

The truth is, if we don’t know where we came from, how can we possibly know who we are and where we are going. For those of us, like myself whose ancestors were born in slavery in America, the African American spirituals hold within them the key to our African American cultural heritage and America’s oral history. Because the African people brought here to America as slaves were stripped of their language, stripped of their culture, stripped of their music, and stripped of their sacred drums and for even more control over the slaves, it was forbidden for the slaves to learn how to read and write. It is astounding the courage and determination the slaves had to make a way out of no way to create an entirely original music and a new culture resolute in safekeeping a message of hope for humanity. These humble beginnings have left a vibrant legacy that has permeated African American culture and music even today. In knowing who we are today we must know our roots. And to do that we must know more about the slaves in America which is hidden within their music. To begin that journey you must first understand the music they created in the cotton fields of the Old South. For the slaves first and foremost singing gave their souls a secret and safe way to speak to God out loud. Along with the connection to God they felt while singing, the spirituals became a tool for the slaves to heal their pain, record their history, teach their young and encouraged them to stay focused on freedom, because one day they knew it would belong to them. And amazingly they kept this deep commitment to freedom, hidden in plain view for centuries. Obviously their lives depended on it.

And so it is, the humble open hearts of the slaves gave birth to an original American music we call spirituals. In 2007 the United State Congress would pass historic twin resolutions recognizing the African American Spiritual as an American National Treasure and honoring the slaves for their gifts to our nation with our deepest gratitude and respect. It’s time we believe in the possibilities life has to offer and go for our dreams to fulfill our nations promise: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The question is what will we pay forward to our children and great grandchildren? I’d love to hear your comments. Thank you so much for listening to my story and my music. I appreciate your business.

For programing, music and for more information on the history of the spirituals visit:


Who are we, American victims or heroes? Lately I find it difficult, even painful to watch the news as a select few dismantle our core foundation as Americans. America’s compassion, our openness to embrace different cultures and religions and provide care for those less fortunate as a hand up with the joy in knowing if we help one another we will all succeed is what this country is built on. When we dismantle food programs for those who need food, medical care for those who are sick, and the arts that inspire us to understand ourselves, we will decline as our country as we have never done before. We need to have learned from our history that slavery is not acceptable, and modern day slavery to greed for only a few people is also not acceptable.

Sometimes I find myself getting discouraged by the lack of interest and responsibility we have to preserve and support our albeit imperfect yet extraordinary national cultural arts 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 African American slave brothers & sisters who endured slavery in this country creating an original music in spite of there circumstances. Why don’t we as a nation focus on our accomplishments and contributions of all the cultures that make up our citizenry?

Thankfully yesterday, as my despair reached a low point, and as luck would have it, I found a letter of support on my desk from Dr. Dorothy Height, one of America’s greatest Civil Rights leaders, that she had written to me in 2005. Reading this letter again reminded me there is no room for despair only room for determination to keep going… and as an old spiritual states: “Ain’t nobody gonna turn me around, marching into freedoms land”.

Here is a quote from her letter about my work to expose the beauty, fortitude, and accomplishments of our slave brothers and sisters in American history in spite of their enslavement. This is what she said to me:

“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.

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

So today, I am reminded to march on, sing on, and be eternally grateful for the grace and beauty of my ancestors. I am because they were.


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……

Secret And Sacred Voices Of Our Ancestors

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.

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