As a child, Crystal Boling-Barton was told by her school counselors that she could only become a secretary. To prove them wrong, Crystal set a path of realizing her dreams. As a sickly child, she always appreciated the care given to her by nurses, so she wanted to become one when she grew up. She first attended the Adult Nursing Program at Trott Vocational, graduated, got her license and enrolled in the State University at Buffalo. Finding the classes to be overwhelming in size, she transferred to Niagara University, and found that the nursing classes were full so she enrolled in the education program. She is a graduate of Niagara University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Education, a Master's Degree in Educational Administration, a Master's Degree in Counseling Education, a Post Master's Professional Diploma in Counseling Education and a Certificate of Specialization in Minority Group Studies. She was also one of the first African American females to enlist in the ROTC at Niagara University and received an honorable discharge from the United States Army.
One of sixteen children, she is the sixth daughter and eighth child of the late Floyd Sr. and Zorie Mosley Boling. A descendent of an African American pioneer family to Niagara Falls, New York, many of her family members worked at the famous Marigold Restaurant, which was opened in the 1930's and located on Fourth Street, next to the present location of the Seneca Niagara Casino. Many African Americans worked there. The owner, Mary Baldwin, brought African Americans up from the south to work in her restaurant. There was also a Marigold in New Orleans, Louisiana. Crystal's grandmother, great grandmother and other family members worked there at the time. Crystal remembers her mother telling her how she worked there as a young girl, with her mother. Crystal's Great Aunt Ellen Robinson's image was used on the pink china (made by Buffalo China Co.) and on the cover of the restaurant's cookbook, billboards and other items. She sued the restaurant owner and lost her case.
Crystal attended Beech Avenue and Center Avenue Elementary Schools, North Junior High School, and graduated from Niagara Falls High School. Her mother taught her children to always look out for the children and the elderly and that's what Crystal continues to do in her life.
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