The National Museum of African American History and Culture titles their profile story of the singer Maxine Sullivan this way: “A Life Well Sung”. She used her artistry to embrace and lead in, and for, her community. Her earliest music experiences came in what she was quoted as calling “The Front Porch Orchestra.” Family members played a variety of instruments introducing her to them in that way that family involves you in things. She sang but also played the trumpet and trombone.

A trip from her Pennsylvania hometown of Homestead to New York City turned into a permanent move connecting her to the city’s African American artist community. She appeared in a jazzed version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the cast including Louis Armstrong.

This was not her only time swinging Shakespeare, she did it later on with a recording called Sullivan, Shakespeare, and Hyman. The House That Jazz Built was her gift to her adopted New York community and was created after the death of her husband, Cliff  Jackson. The family home was converted into a community center for jazz education.

A life well sung indeed, with songs full of life.