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

Dr. Dorothy Height (RIP) National Council Of Negro Women

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#Connect2Culture is like connecting to the spirit of humanity. Check out my video conversation with Dr. Dorothy I. Height(Chairwoman and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women) regarding the African American spirituals. I was so honored she gave me her full support and the support of the National Council of Negro Women in my quest to preserve and pass Twin Resolutions in the US Congress in 2007, to recognize the African American Spirituals as a National Treasure and honor the slaves for their contributions to our nation with our deepest gratitude and respect.

FYI: The wooden cross Dr Height and I are holding in this picture of us in her office, is a cross I made from a window frame I salvaged during a construction project at “The Little Church Around The Corner” which houses the Episcopal Actors Guild in NYC. This church was a known safe haven for runaway slaves, and a route on the UGRR that the slaves received help on their journey from slavery to freedom. I wanted to preserve a little piece of history, before improvements to the building were made.

Coming Together To Help One Another In Our History Is A Fact

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Dr. King’s words are as powerful today as they were when he led the Civil Rights Movement marches in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Let us never forget love is the answer, and passive resistance and nonviolent peaceful protests are great tools to use in our democracy that have been successful in our history against unjust laws and inhumanity to mankind. It is always important to know your history. Knowledge is power!

“In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Watch this video to see how the slaves used passive resistance in their daily lives.

Music And Cultural Arts Heritage And Preservation Matter

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#Knowledge-Is-Power! Most of our American musical heritage is as original and creative as the original ideas and premise our founding fathers had for building a country for the people and by the people. Just like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution these documents provide a look back on where we came from and are a road map for our future. American music and cultural arts paint a vivid picture of where we started and how far we have progressed. Beginning with the spirituals which became recognized as an American National Treasure in 2007, the slaves created an original rhythm and sound that later created the new genres of Blues, Jazz, Gospel and Rhythm and Blues which are staples in American music history.

A world without art, music or cultural diversity wouldn’t be very interesting. It is the arts that help us see ourselves in the context of history and portray our humanity generationally. Today in America there are only a handful of us who continue to sing the spirituals and share the history within them, and that I believe is because so little is known about the slave culture in America. In our hopes to move past America’s original sin we have chosen to forget where we came from, rather than learn from our mistakes, and take the time to heal the wound so that we can move forward from a healed place with new creative ideas for a bright future for generations to come. In our hastiness to move forward we are losing out on a dynamic culture of artists whose names we will never know and whose stories tell us who we are. Building on our musical heritage in America it is important to remember where it all began and just how wonderfully diverse it has become. #Knowledge-Is-Power. Peace and Love y’all.

A Blast From The Past, Can You Dig It?

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I threw my youthful caution to the wind and as luck would have it, I hitched a ride right away with strangers headed to the music festival in Woodstock. A white couple picked me up, not too far from my church, oh if my Mom only knew! From start to finish you could just feel lots of good vibrations surrounding everyone. We had the radio blasting in their Chevy Nova, they gave me chips to eat and coke-cola to drink, so I enjoyed the long ride to NY. We arrived in the middle of the night. I thanked them, and I headed across the field navigating my way in the dark of night to get as close to the stages as I could. The moonlight lit my way, along with a few candles, lanterns, and the red glow of joints being smoked where people had already staked their place for the festival. Needless to say, it was pretty exciting for a country boy like me experiencing all that peace, love and music in the fields of Woodstock! The music was awesome, the total experience was amazing. And even though I had to leave the festival on Saturday, I lucked out once again and I hitched my way home with two strangers who dropped me off not too far from home as they heading back home themselves to Florida. Thankfully, I made it home to perform at church that Sunday morning. Mom and Dad never said anything to me. And me, well, I had the time of my life, the only remnant of my ever being there was the larger than life smile I had on my face in church that Sunday morning and for several weeks after that I would smile for no apparent reason. Life lesson: Live fearlessly with no regrets!

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