Boatner was educated at Western University, Quindaro, Kansas City, Kansas; the Boston Conservatory; and Chicago Music College (now the College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University). He also studied music privately. He began as a concert singer with the encouragement and assistance of Roland Hayes—who performed many of Boatner’s works on his concert programs—and choral director R. Nathaniel Dett. He also sang leading roles with the National Negro Opera Company, and was music director of the National Baptist Convention (1925–31). Boatner was a professor at Samuel Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University) and Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. He then settled in New York, composing, conducting a studio and directing community and church choirs.

  1. I Shall Not Be Moved