Cleveland's Black History: Wings Over Jordan Choir had crossover, international appeal in 1930s, 40s

CLEVELAND - They were one of the best African American choirs during the late 1930's and early 1940's.

Cleveland's Wings Over Jordan Choir made broadcast history with the first independently produced national and international radio programs created by African-Americans.

The choir was founded in 1935 by the Rev. Glenn T. Settle, who was the the pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church on E. 30th and Scovill Ave. in Cleveland.

Pastor Settle believed in using Negro spirituals to spread Christianity. In 1937, the choir performed weekly on the "Negro Hour" on WGAR radio. It quickly became a success.

In 1938 the group adopted the name Wings Over Jordan Choir. At the height of the choir's career they performed before sold out, non-segregated audiences in over 40 states, five European countries, Canada and Mexico.

During World War II, the group toured Army camps in Europe.

WOJC was so popular they published a songbook, recorded an album, got a movie contract and an invitation to the White House.

The choir received numerous honors including a Peabody Award. Wings Over Jordan Choir became the voice of American Negroes.

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