- Barry Kernfeld
Hopkins, Claude (24 August 1903–19 February 1984), jazz bandleader and pianist, was born Claude Driskett Hopkins in Alexandria, Virginia, the son of Albert W. Hopkins and Gertrude D. (maiden name unknown), supervisors of a school for orphaned boys in Blue Plains, Virginia. Around 1913 the family moved to Washington, D.C., where his father became postmaster at Howard University and his mother became matron of a Howard dormitory. After public schooling, Hopkins enrolled at Howard, where he excelled in athletics and scholarship. Concentrating on music theory and classical piano while beginning preparations for medical study, he earned a B.A. in music. Despite his parents’ preference he chose to become a musician, having already worked casually in nightclubs and theaters during his college years....