Monthly Archives: December 2014

Remembering the Rev. Henry J. Payden, Sr. (1923-2014), Former Member of the Wings Over Jordan Choir

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The Rev. Henry J. Payden, Sr. contributed much to the shaping of religious history and culture in the state of Ohio.  Rev. Payden, who passed away in December 2014, was the founding pastor of the Holy Trinity Baptist Church, the former pastor of Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church, and a member of the world famous Wings Over Jordan Choir.


After the choir’s  radio broadcasts and concert tours ended in the Post-World War II era, Rev. Payden and other former members supported the outreach and educational efforts of the Wings Over Jordan Alumni and Friends, Inc. and the Wings Over Jordan Celebration Chorus in Cleveland.  Rev. Payden was one of the first people to share his oral history narrative with the Praying Grounds Project at  Cleveland State University, and I remain grateful for his kindness and generosity.



(This 1966 image of Rev. Payden courtesy of Cleveland Memory,

Reflections on 2014, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!

This has been a wonderful year, and I want to thank you for being part of it!  On this last weekend of 2014, I join others in observing Kwanzaa, and I invite you to read more about this African American celebration of family, community, and culture at


I also want to share some photographs from several of my favorite 2014 events.  ENJOY!


Guest lecture by Dr. Donna Whyte for "The Sixties and the Struggle"

Guest lecture by Dr. Donna Whyte for “The Sixties and the Struggle.”


After oral history interview with Prof. Richard Davis. Pictured left to right are Dr. Paul Ortiz, Prof Richard Davis, and Dr. Regennia N. Williams.

Jingeling, Drene, Me, and L.R

At the Western Reserve Historical Society in December. Left to right: Regennia N. Williams, Mr. Jingeling, Drene Ivy, and L.R. Smith.


CSU History major Ramone Smith and family at the September 50th Anniversary Block Party..


CSU alums at 50th Anniversary Block Party.


One of he youngest Vikings at the 50th Anniversary Block Party.

Spiritual Gifts at WRHS

The Spiritual Gifts Gospel Ensemble performed at the Western Reserve Historical Society Crawford Museum on December 20th.


After oral history interview with Rev. James Stallings, left, and attorney James Hardiman.


Dr. Nishani Frazier and Prof. Prester Pickett after Frazier’s April keynote lecture for “The Sixties and the Struggle.”


Regennia N. Williams and Dr. Nishani Frazier after book-signing in April.


CSU alumna Nina Kidd with Dr. Regennia N. Williams following the April “Bringing Henrietta to Life” conference.


Mayor Michael White and Dr. Regennia Williams following summer 2014 oral history interview.


Dr. Ruth Reese (left) and Dr. Regennia N. Williams.


Girl Scouts at the community birthday reception for Judge Sara J. Harper.


Judge Sara J. Harper at her August 2014 Community Birthday Reception


(left to right) Judge Nathaniel Jones, CSU student videographer Stephen Morgan, and attorney James Hardiman after the oral history interview of Judge Jones.