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Our Story

The Gospel Music Historical Society (“GMHS” or the “Society”) is an Ohio not for profit corporation federally recognized as tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We are a public charity with a growing body of volunteers and supporters committed to preserving Cleveland’s rich history of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through music. We do this through education, event programming, networking, promotion and workshops. These efforts align perfectly with our mission to raise funds in support of the charitable causes that are important to the communities we serve.


GMHS was originally founded in March 2004 (and rejuvenated in May 2018). We’d love to tell you that Frederick “Chuckie” Burton at the outset had the forethought and a grand plan to form an organization such as GMHS. The truth is, he simply wanted to design a calendar to display a collection of old photographs and memorabilia of gospel quartets, soloists, musicians and MCs, which had been amassed by his dad, William “Dub” Burton, and fellow gospel music enthusiasts like Marva Bright, Eloise Burnett, and Rev. Robert Peacock (of Peacock Studios) to name a few. That singular objective led Chuckie to seek advice from Regennia N. Williams, Ph.D., author, native Clevelander and then faculty member in Cleveland State University’s history department. With assistance from Dr. Williams, Chuckie authored “Cleveland’s Gospel Music,” a special interest book published by Arcadia Publishing as part of its Black America Series.


As with everything, God our master planner had the grand plan for GMHS; no one could have imagined that those collection of photos and memorabilia would be the impetus for it. And the collection continues! As part of its purpose to educate and preserve Cleveland’s gospel music history, GMHS is collecting for its archives cherished memories of audio, visual and video media. Aside from events that raise awareness and funds and bring people together, GMHS is also creating venues for sharing these works and promoting education on broader based platforms like social media and original works of art like documentaries.


The Gospel Music Historical Society's committee members are Benita Burton, Derlein Burton, Frechic Burton, Roderick Burton, William Burton, Zanda Burton, Estellar Jenkins, Teresa Martin, Terrie Moore, Letha Munns, Renee Valarie Munns-Robinson, Arthur Pack, Channita Pack, Arvin Pratt, Zabra Burton-Rice, Pastor Chris Scott and Andre Smith.  Under our current volunteer leadership and with the tremendous support from our partners and friends, GMHS is continuing to grow and evolve. We can’t wait to see God’s next move for the Society!

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