James Counts Early

James Counts EarlyJames Early is the Former Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. From 1984 to 2015 Mr. Early served in many positions at the Smithsonian Institution: Assistant Provost for Educational and Cultural Programs, Assistant Secretary for Education and Public Service, Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Public Service, Director of Cultural Studies and Communications at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage Studies, and Interim Director of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum.

Prior to his work with the Smithsonian, Mr. Early was a humanist administrator at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, DC; a producer, writer, and host of "Ten Minutes Left," a weekly radio segment of cultural, educational, and political interviews and commentary at WHUR FM radio, Howard University; and a research associate for programs and documentation at the Howard University Institute for the Arts and Humanities, Washington, DC. 

A long-time advocate and innovator of cultural diversity, equity and cultural democracy policy in national and global public spheres, emphasizing the nexus of citizen agency, cultural and educational institutions and government State-craft, Mr. Early began these pursuits in 1969 at Morehouse College, in Atlanta, GA, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. In 1971, he entered the Graduate Studies program at Howard University on a Ford Foundation Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in Latin American and Caribbean History, and a minor in African and Afro-American History. 

Over the course of a 40-year professional career, Mr. Early has investigated and participated in mediated cultural encounters which inform national and global policies. He has been an ardent social justice advocate for Self-Determination, Independence, and sovereignty of the Cuban people and their governance stewards with particular reciprocal sharing and learning projects with Cuban artists and intellectuals. Author of the "Prólogo: Identidad racial, democracia participativa y revolución en la Cuba del siglo XXI" in the February 2016 online Temas Magazine book Raza y Racismo en Cuba.

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