Side A: “…on Sunday morning, especially in the African American community, you could go down the street and hear The Wings Over Jordan just coming from everybody’s house….” Glenn Brackens, 2017. Upholding the sanctity of traditional African American spirituals, believing in the power of radio to uplift listeners, and recognizing his choir’s rich talent, Rev. Glenn T. Settle (1894-1967), pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church, originated the “Negro Hour” on Cleveland’s WGAR in 1937. The Sunday morning radio show featured the choir’s moving renditions of spirituals and was originally directed by James Tate (1918-1986). Williette Firmbanks Thompson (1910-1992) was assistant director and a soloist (Continued on other side)
Side B: (Continued from other side) To advance his vision, Rev. Settle collaborated with WGAR’s Worth Kramer (1908-1998) to expand the show’s reach. Renamed “Wings Over Jordan,” it debuted on CBS’s radio network in 1938 and was broadcast until 1947. Produced by African Americans, the show introduced a diverse audience to traditional spirituals and the Black experience, featuring guests such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Langston Hughes, and Adam Clayton Powell. The choir’s founding generation toured nationally and internationally in the 1940s and performed only before integrated audiences. An historical marker designates Rev. Settle’s birthplace in Reidsville, North Carolina.