Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Learn how African American band from NC helped integrate the U.S. Navy in Asheboro library talk

B-1 Band veteran Calvin Morrow
(photo by Eddie Price
ASHEBORO --Learn how an African American band in World War II propelled the U.S. Navy towards inclusiveness — and meet one of the musicians — during a talk by East Carolina University professor Alex Albright at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Asheboro Public Library.

Albright will be joined by Calvin Morrow of Greensboro, who played French horn in the band. Their appearance, entitled, “B-1: How NC A&T and UNC Integrated the Modern U.S. Navy,” is sponsored by the library’s Robert C. Taylor Jr. Memorial World War II Collection.

It’s free and the public is invited.

The 45-piece B-1 Band, comprised primarily of N.C. A&T students, was assigned to support the Navy’s preflight training school on the then-segregated UNC campus in Chapel Hill. Band members were the first African Americans to serve in the Navy at a general rating, placing them on a par with white sailors.

As such, they also were the first black people to work on-campus in a non-servant capacity. They were a sign of hope among members of Chapel Hill’s African American community, who lined the streets to watch the band march to work from segregated living quarters.

In May 1944, the band was transferred to Pearl Harbor, where its members were among the largest posting of African American sailors in the world.

Albright will explore the unit’s history with images and documents, and musical recordings made while the band was stationed in Hawaii.

He also will delve into the history of blacks and musicians in the U.S. military, and talk about the complicated racial dynamic of the era in North Carolina.

The library is located at 201 Worth Street in Asheboro. For further information, call 336-318-6803 

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