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    The Jubilee Singers. (1875). Image courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Cecil Gant 1913-1951

Cecil Gant April4, 1913- February 4, 1951 was a blues musician born here in Nashville. He had a song named “I Wonder” that reached number 1 on the black music charts. He even has a Wikipedia page.

Today I was contacted by someone who was trying to verify where Cecil is buried. He had some information from a book that Cecil was buried in Ohio, but had not found any associations that Cecil may have had to Ohio. His question to me – could I help him locate information that would help confirm where he was buried?

So, me being the obsessive one, had to start looking around to see if I could help him. Fortunately, the Chicago Defender comes to save the day again! I was able to locate some articles from the 1940s that mentioned that Cecil worked and travelled in Cleveland and even owned a nightclub there. I also found an obituary published in the February 17, 1951 issue of the Chicago Defender:

Interestingly enough, this obit does not mention his brother, Earnest, which I found mentioned in a later article from 1956. But, this, combined with the other articles I found, definitely show an association that Cecil had to Cleveland. The next step, locating where he may be buried. I’ve suggested to the person that contacted me that he try to get his death certificate (freely available on microfilm from the Tennessee State Library & Archives) to see if it is mentioned there. Another possibility would be to track his other family members to see where they may be buried. I’ll save that for tomorrow….

UPDATE: as reflected by Chuck’s comment on this post, he found him! Chuck called Highland Park Cemetery in Cleveland, one of two cemeteries where blacks were usually buried during that time period, and they confirmed for him that Gant was buried there.

Leave a comment


  1. Chuck

     /  January 4, 2008

    I’ve located Cecil Gant’s burial location. He is buried at Highland Park Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. He is in the Veterans section, not far from the flagpole. Other notable African-Americans buried at Highland include jazz musician Albert Ayler & actor Joe Seneca.

  2. I found Cecil’s headstone and it lists his birthday as Feb 25 1911. I think I would believe the stone since it’s a veterans marker.

    • Hi Steve,

      i will email you but if you happen to have a picture of the gravestone that would be wonderful1

  3. Mike

     /  June 12, 2012

    Cecil Gant was one of the greatest. I enjoy his music immensely. Thank you for the info.

  1. Cecil Gant - the R&B singer « Taneya’s Genealogy Blog
  2. Genealogy Activities Synopsis - January 2008 « Taneya’s Genealogy Blog
  3. “I Wonder” by Cecil Gant « African-American History & Genealogy in Nashville, Tennessee

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