A member of the popular 1940s and '50s vocal ensemble The Famous Ward Singers, this gospel singer and vocal arranger is also remembered for appearing with Hank Williams Jr. in the 1968 film A Time to Sing.
She recorded her debut solo track in 1940 and subsequently accompanied her fellow Ward Singers on a national tour.
She contributed backing vocals to the chart-topping Dee Dee Sharp single "Mashed Potato Time." In addition, she released a solo album titled Soul and Inspiration.
Her mother, Gertrude Ward, established The Ward Singers in the early 1930s and performed in the ensemble along with Clara and Clara's older sister, Willa. Clara Ward had a long-lasting romantic relationship with singer Aretha Franklin's father, Reverend C. L. Franklin.
She music directed and performed in the original Broadway production of Langston Hughes' Tambourines to Glory.