The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Black History Month 2013

Cleveland earned its place on the rock and roll map in the early Fifties when local deejay Alan Freed was the first to call the R&B music he was playing on his nightly radio show “rock and roll.” From the 1950s to the 1970s, Clevelanders produced powerful soul and rhythm and blues music in a rich network of clubs, recording studios and record labels. Fans are encouraged to share their knowledge, memories, and photos through the Rock Hall’s Facebook and Twitter page.  

Unless noted, all events are at the Rock Hall and are FREE with a reservation here  or in-person at the Rock Hall Box Office.   

Wednesday, February 13 at 7pm

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Foster Theater

Born on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio in 1942, Lou Ragland is a singer, guitarist, songwriter, record producer, studio engineer, and more. Ragland’s first 45, “Never Let Me Go/Party at Lester’s,” was recorded in 1960 at Boddie Recording Studio on Union Avenue and released on the Way Out label the following year.

Between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, Ragland produced some of Cleveland’s greatest soul musicBefore he became the O’Jays road manager in 1967, he was the only African American in the Terry Knight Revue, playing guitar alongside Cleveland saxophone legend Ernie Krivda. Ragland was interviewed by Carlo Wolff, author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories. 

Saturday, February 16 at 11:30am

Main Reading Room, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives (2809 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland)

Postal worker Jimmy Baynes supplemented his weekly paycheck through Baynes Foto Service at 2220 East 87th Street, primarily photographing local events in the African-American community.  Though Baynes was not a trained photographer, the images he created from the 1950s into the 1980s, including weddings, beauty competitions, burlesque shows and musical performances, provide a candid glimpse into African-American life, music and culture.  Throughout the years, Baynes’ photographs appeared in Cleveland magazines and newspapers, such as the Call and Post

Attendees were encouraged to share stories about Cleveland music history and the places and people depicted in the photographs.  

Wednesday, February 20 at 4:30pm

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Eat to the Beat (3rd Floor)

This workshop for teachers launched a special year-long oral history project for K-12 students connected with the Rock Hall’s annual Black History Month celebration.  Teachers will learn how their students can connect with Cleveland’s African-American musical legacy through oral history.  Teachers Rock is a FREE professional development workshop series for K-12 level educators interested in integrating popular music into their own classroom curriculum.

Wednesday, February 20 at 7pm

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Foster Theater

The Boddie Recording Company (located at 12202 Union Avenue), run by Thomas and Louise Boddie, was Cleveland's first African-American owned and operated recording studio, recording a wide range of genres ranging from gospel, soul, and rhythm & blues, to rock, bluegrass, and country.  Harvey Hall, best known as the leader of Harvey and the Phenomenals, recorded three singles at Boddie including “Soul & Sunshine” (Da-Wood, 1971). This event was also streamed live on

Following this event, there was an after-party at the Happy Dog where DJ Lawrence Daniel Caswell spun classic cuts from the Boddie box set along with other great soul music.



Tuesday, February 26 at 6:30pm

At PNC Fairfax Connection, 8220 Carnegie Avenue, Cleveland

This event will feature a special presentation by educators and curators from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum on Cleveland R&B and soul history in conjunction with the Rock Hall’s Black History Month programming.  The evening will begin with a conversation with Freddie Arrington, a former maître d at Leo’s Casino, followed by a participatory discussion led by Museum curator Meredith Rutledge, who will spotlight Leo’s Casino, Gleason’s, and other Fairfax area clubs with photographs from the Rock Hall’s collection.  Participants are encouraged to come share stories, bring photographs, ask questions and learn about Cleveland's rich history with R&B and soul.  
This event is FREE and RSVPs are not required.  Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Wednesday, February 27 at 7pm

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Foster Theater
Bobby Massey is a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees the O’Jays. Bobby Massey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.

This event will also be streamed live on