Independent Historian

Cassandra Boydston considers music and studying history to be her lifelong passions and vocations.  She has combined the two while writing articles for  Cassandra has been studying history at the University of Washington since 1999 while simultaneously working as a computer programmer.  She hopes to be able to devote herself to studying and writing about history full time after graduation.

Ntozake Shange (Paulette Williams) (1948-2018 )

The author, poet, and playwright Ntozake Shange was born Paulette Williams on October 18, 1948 in Trenton, New Jersey.  Until she was eight, she lived in a racially diverse community among well-educated upper middle class black and white families.  She socialized with prominent musicians and performers, including Dizzy … Read MoreNtozake Shange (Paulette Williams) (1948-2018 )

Aretha Franklin (1942-2018)

In her five decades as a recording artist, Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul,” became a music legend. Aretha Louise Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942. Her family soon relocated to Detroit, Michigan, where her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, became a minister at New Bethel Baptist Church. Rev. Franklin … Read MoreAretha Franklin (1942-2018)

Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969)

Coleman Randolph Hawkins was born November 21, 1904, in Saint Joseph, Missouri.  He began his musical education early with lessons on both the piano and cello.  Despite parental encouragement towards more classic instruments, Hawkins focused on the saxophone after he received a “C melody” tenor … Read MoreColeman Hawkins (1904-1969)

Carolynne Snowden (1900-1985)

Caroline Snowden (she later changed her first name to Carolynne), known as “California’s Josephine Baker,” was born on January 16th, 1900, in Oakland, California.  From an early age, Snowden knew that she wanted to be a performer and, despite the lack of opportunities for African … Read MoreCarolynne Snowden (1900-1985)

The Creole Palace, San Diego, California (1924-1946)

The hallmarks of the “Roaring ‘20s” are legendary in American history: dashing and daring men and women, illegal alcohol, flamboyant entertainers, and the music inspired by the post-war, prohibition era frenzy:  jazz.  While the hot spots in New York and Los Angeles, California generally garner … Read MoreThe Creole Palace, San Diego, California (1924-1946)