From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Gibbs, Clinton

(born: 1891  -  died: 1970) 

Clinton Gibbs, one of the musical leaders in Cincinnati, OH, prepared the chorus each year for the June Festival for Negro Music [The Enquirer, 2/20/2005, p.  D1, by J. Gelfand]. The event was an outdoor choral festival held in Cincinnati for almost two decades, starting in 1938.

Clinton Gibbs was born in Petersburg, KY, the son of Frances Christopher Gibbs and James Gibbs. The family moved to Cincinnati and lived on Wayne Street, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Frances was a widow who did laundry to help support the family of five.

Clinton Gibbs studied piano at Holderbach College of music in Cincinnati, and he studied organ under Prower Symon. Gibbs also gave private piano lessons at his home and taught piano classes at Douglass School. He was on the faculty of the Lillian Aldrich Thayer Settlement School of Music. He was the organist choirmaster at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church and director of the Queen City Glee Club.

Gibbs was secretary of the True American Lodge No. 2 F. & A. M. and belonged to the King Solomon Consistory No. 20 Scottish Rite. He directed the Cincinnati Masonic Chorus at the 100th Annual Communication of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Ohio [source: The History of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Ohio, 1849-1960, by C. H. Wesley, chapter 14]. He was vice president of the Cincinnati division of the National Association of Negro Musicians.

Clinton Gibb's birth year in the census records ranges from 1891-1893. According to his World War I draft registration card, he was born August 7, 1893, and he had had a hip disease that left one of his legs shorter than the other. His World War II draft registration card gives his birthday as August 7, 1892.

For more see Cincinnati's Colored Citizens, by W. P. Dabney; and Clinto Gibbs in the Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky, by P. A. Tenkotte and J. C. Claypool.

*Added note from LaShawn Nelson: "Clinton Gibbs was also the organist and choir master for the senior choir of First Baptist Church of Walnut Hills in Cincinnati." This is also mentioned in the Clinton Gibbs entry in The Encyclopedia of Northern Kentucky. "My family and I belonged to the church for most of our lives."

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Boone County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Petersburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Gibbs, Clinton,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-05-20 20:44:48