Inductees Archive

Clara Ward

Clara Ward was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 21, 1924. A dedicated Christian and one of the World’s great gospel singers. She composed over 200 gospel songs, among them “How I got Over”, a current winner for Aretha Franklin and a stellar vehicle for the late Mahalia Jackson. “How I Got Over” was first recorded by the Clara Ward Singers in 1962. This song’s performances and record sales have made it a standard in the field of sacred music. Other Clara Ward gospel songs include “Packing Up” “Come In The Prayer Room”, and “Prince of Peace”, each one having attained gold record status. She was the founder and star performer of the Clara Ward Singers. The group’s recording of “Surely God is Able” sold a million copies, a first at the time for a gospel song. Clara Ward passed away on Jan. 16, 1973. In 1977 she was honored posthumously at the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York City, as part of a special display honoring women in music. In July 1998, in recognition of her status as one of the most famous and loved gospel singers in the world, the United States Postal Service issued a 32 cent stamp with Clara Ward’s image on it.


Induction Year




The Clara Ward Singers


Hit Songs

  • “Surely God is Able”
  • “Packing Up”



Clara Ward was a mentor and friend to Aretha Franklin in her teens.



The Clara Ward Singers singing “His Eye Is On The Sparrow”