U.S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Collection, 1942-2014

Manuscript Collection #971

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: U.S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Collection
    Creator: U.S. Navy B-1 Band.
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Collection (1942 – 2014, undated) of programs, notes, photographic prints, etc. documenting the history and membership of the U. S. Navy B-1 Band, the first All-African American band to serve in the U. S. Navy during World War II, including reunion programs, historical and biographical sketches and photographs of the band and its members, rosters, and the music and lyrics for naval hymns.
    Extent: 0.25 Cubic feet, 1 archival box, 33 items, 135 pages, Program pamphlets, brochures, leaflets; printed forms; holograph notes; photographic prints
  • Description
     

    the U. S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Collection consists of four series arranged in original order documenting the reunions, history, and membership of the U. S. Navy B-1 Band, 1942-2013, undated and its reunions, 1977 – 2014.

    Series 1: Documents (14-19 October 2003) relating to the Band’s 61st Reunion

    Series 2: U. S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Programs (12 August 1977 – 25 August 2013) Addition #1.

    Series 3: Roger F. Holt Portrait (ca. 1942 – 1945) Addition #1

    Series 4: 72nd Anniversary Celebration Banquet Program (2 August 2014) Addition #2

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    U. S. Navy B-1 Band was the first all Negro Navy Band to serve in the U. S. Navy. It grew out of an April 1942 plan to establish a 44 – piece band for the U. S. Navy Pre-Flight School scheduled to be commissioned in Chapel Hill, NC in May of that year. The Navy Department then sent Chief Bandmaster C. E. Dudrow, USN (ret.) to select and train members of the prospective band. North Carolina Governor J. Melville Broughton assisted the process by establishing an advisory committee to help promote the band.

    The 44 bandsmen that Dudrow selected with the assistance of the advisory committee came mainly from among the students of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, in Greensboro, NC; North Carolina Central University, in Durham, NC; and from Hillside High School in Durham, NC. The band was based at Hargraves Recreational Center during their early wartime service.

    The band mustered at Raleigh on 27 May 1942, and then traveled by train to Norfolk, Virginia for 9-weeks of naval indoctrination. Approximately one-third of the men were college graduates and majority had at least two years of college education.

    After basic training the band reported to the Navy Pre-Flight School in Chapel Hill on 31 July 1942. They lived in a new building, originally intended as a Community Center for Negroes of Chapel Hill.

    During the 21 months the band served at the Pre-Flight School, they performed at regimental reviews, war bond rallies and parades, throughout the region. They performed at Army-Navy E-Award presentations. They even entertained at ship launching. The B-1 Band also held a summer concert series, and played at various sporting events.

    The Band was then assigned overseas duty, arrive at Manama Navy Barracks, Pearl City, Oahu, Hawaii, where they arrived on 24 May 1944. This remained their post throughout the remainder of the war. During this period, a few new members joined the band; but essentially the band’s service remained unchanged as it toured the numerous army and navy bases in Hawaii.

    In the years following the war, most band members completed their education and made professional careers for themselves. Many achieved success in the professions, or in business, or as performers. On 14 February 1981, the U.S. Navy School of Music awarded honorary degrees to the members of the band. The CBS network broadcast the event nationally.

    In the years after the war the B-1 Band members established a pattern of holding reunions in August or September of every year. The collection holds programs for most of the reunions from the 35th reunion (1977) through the 72nd reunion (2014).

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    November 12, 2003, 4 items, 0.001 cubic feet; Collection (2003) of documents relating to the second annual reunion of the first all-African-American Band in the U.S. Navy during World War II, held in Greenville, NC 16-19 October 2003. Donor: Alex Albright

    October 28, 2014, Addition #1. 1 archival box. 0.027 cubic feet; Addition includes B-1 Band reunion programs for the years 1977, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2006-2008, 2012, and 2013. Also included is a 1981 program for a concert at Norfolk, Virginia, honoring the B-1 Band. A photograph of B-1 Band member Roger Franklin Holt (died November 2000) in his WWII uniform, who was a Musician 3rd Class playing trombone during WWII, was given by Rebecca Sellers Clark through Alex Albright. Donor: Alex Albright

    December 22, 2015, Addition #2, 1 archival folder, 0.002 cubic feet; Addition includes two programs from the B-1 U.S. Navy Band 72nd Anniversary Celebration Banquet held in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on August 2, 2014. Donor: Alex Albright

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Alex Albright

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    U. S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Collection (#0971) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

    Processing Information

    Encoded by Mark Custer, March 17, 2008. Preliminary processing & preliminary inventory by Thomas Hall (intern), 7/8/2018; Processing revised & container list by Jonathan Dembo, 7/1/2019.

Container List

  • Documents (14 - 19 October 2003) relating to the 61st Reunion
     

    • Box 1
       
      • Folder a
         
        Program for United States Navy Showband and the North Carolina A. & T. Jazz Combo in Concert Friday October 17, 2003 Wright Auditorium East Carolina University. (item 1)
        Program for U.S. Navy B-1 Banquet 61st anniversary Saturday, October 18, 2003 Mendenhall Student Center East Carolina University with Special guests Tuskegee Airmen Rev. Sam Hardy, Wilson Eagleson and guest speaker Leonard Hunter. (item 2)
        State of North Carolina Office of the Governor 20301 Mail Service Center ? Raleigh, N.C. 27699-0301 Michael Easley Governor. [Welcoming letter] (October 16-19, 2003). (item 3)
        City of Greenville, North Carolina October 14, 2003. [Welcoming letter from Mayor Robert D. Parrott]. (item 4)
  • U.S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Programs (12 August 1977 - 25 August 2013)
     

    • Box 1
       
      • Folder b
         
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (12 - 14 August 1977) Holiday Inn - Chapel Hill, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 1)
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (8 - 10 August 1980) Holiday Inn Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Brochure. 2 items. 8 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 2)
        Band One United States Navy Band, Fortieth Reunion Program (6 - 8 August 1982) Best Western Center Inn Norfolk, Virginia. Brochure. 2 items. 8 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 4)
        Band One United States Navy - World War II 1984 Reunion Program (3 - 5 August 1984) Ramada Inn Greensboro, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 5)
        Notes [1986] about the Remarks to be made at the Placement of the Plaque Commemorating the B-1 U.S. Navy Band at Hargraves Recreation Center Robertson Street Chapel Hill N.C. Holograph notes. 1 item. 1 p. Note: written on verso 1980 census printed form. (item 6)
        Band One United States Navy World War II Program (2 August 1986) "The Unveiling and Dedication of Plaque Commemorating Community Services Rendered During World War II" Hargraves Recreation Center Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. Saturday. Brochure. 2 items. 12 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band, The Litany of Unveiling and Dedication, Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1825 - 1878; John B. Dykes, 1823 - 1876; band roster. (item 7)
        B-1 Band Reunion United States Navy - World War II Program (1 - 3 August 1986) Holiday Inn, 3460 Hillsborough Road (at I-85) Durham, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band. (item 8)
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (12 - 17 July 1988) Cockatoo Inn 4334 West Imperial Highway Hawthorne, California. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band. (item 9)
        Awards Banquet In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the United States Navy Band - 1 Program (8 August 1992) 7:00 p.m. Holiday Inn North, Winston-Salem, N.C. 1942 - 1992. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 10)
        52nd Anniversary United States Navy Band-1 In Remembrance The Honorable James B. Parsons United States District Judge Direct Judge Directing the School of Music Band Program (7 - 11 August 1994) Stardust Resort & Casino + Las Vegas. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 11)
        56th Anniversary United States Navy Band I Dedicated to our wives for their love and support through the years (27 - 30 August 1998) Ramada Inn & Conference Center Williamsburg, VA. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 12)
        57th Anniversary: B-1 United States Navy Band (7 - 10 September 1999) Holiday Inn Boardwalk Atlantic, N.J. Pamphlet. 1 item, 16 p. Note: includes historical, portraits & biographical sketches of 48 band members. (item 13)
        Band One Fifty Ninth Reunion Program (21 - 23 September 2001) Hampton Inn Morehead City, North Carolina. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 14)
        U.S. Navy B-1 Banquet 61st anniversary (18 October 2003) Saturday, Mendenhall Student Center East Carolina University; with special guests Tuskegee Airmen Rev. Sam Hardy, Wilson Eagleson and guest speaker Leonard Hunter. Leaflet, 1 item., 2 p. (item 15)
        U.S. Navy B-1 Band, 62nd Reunion presents An Evening with Good Friends (21 August 2004) Four Point Sheraton, Columbus, Georgia. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 16)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 64th Anniversary Reunion (15 - 17 September 2006) Sands Oceans Club 9550 Shore Drive Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (843) 449-6461. Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 3 p. (item 17)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 65th Anniversary (31 August - 2 September 2007) Hargraves Recreation Center 216 N. Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516. Pamphlet. 1 item. 10 p. Note: Includes historical photographs, historical sketch; autographs; band roster; lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 18)
        The Forgotten First: B-1 United States Navy Band 66th Anniversary Banquet Program (30 August 2008) Hargraves Recreation Center 216 N. Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516 6:30 p.m. Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 9 p. Note: Includes notes of remarks; historical photographs, historical sketch; autographs; band roster; lyrics of The Negro National Anthem, by James Weldon Johnson (17 June 1871 - 26 June 1938); lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 19)
        The Forgotten First: The B-1 U.S. Navy Band 70th Anniversary Celebration Banquet "Marching Into History" Program (14 April 2012), Saturday, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Memorial Student Union, Stallings Ballroom. Flyer. 2 items. 2 p. (item 20)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 71st Anniversary Program (23 - 25 August 2013) Hampton Inn Suites 6121 Farrington Road Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517. Pamphlet. 1 item. 7 p. Note: historical photographs, biographical sketch of James Parson (1911 - 1993) first Black federal district court judge; also lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 21)
        B - 1 US Navy Band Shoulder Patch [undated] Photocopy. 1 item. 2 p. Note: verso is marked "237" (item 22)

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Sensitive Materials Statement

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection, without the consent of those individuals, may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which East Carolina University assumes no responsibility.

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Container List

  • Documents (14 - 19 October 2003) relating to the 61st Reunion
     

    • Box 1
       
      • Folder a
         
        Program for United States Navy Showband and the North Carolina A. & T. Jazz Combo in Concert Friday October 17, 2003 Wright Auditorium East Carolina University. (item 1)
        Program for U.S. Navy B-1 Banquet 61st anniversary Saturday, October 18, 2003 Mendenhall Student Center East Carolina University with Special guests Tuskegee Airmen Rev. Sam Hardy, Wilson Eagleson and guest speaker Leonard Hunter. (item 2)
        State of North Carolina Office of the Governor 20301 Mail Service Center ? Raleigh, N.C. 27699-0301 Michael Easley Governor. [Welcoming letter] (October 16-19, 2003). (item 3)
        City of Greenville, North Carolina October 14, 2003. [Welcoming letter from Mayor Robert D. Parrott]. (item 4)
  • U.S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Programs (12 August 1977 - 25 August 2013)
     

    • Box 1
       
      • Folder b
         
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (12 - 14 August 1977) Holiday Inn - Chapel Hill, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 1)
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (8 - 10 August 1980) Holiday Inn Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Brochure. 2 items. 8 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 2)
        Band One United States Navy Band, Fortieth Reunion Program (6 - 8 August 1982) Best Western Center Inn Norfolk, Virginia. Brochure. 2 items. 8 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 4)
        Band One United States Navy - World War II 1984 Reunion Program (3 - 5 August 1984) Ramada Inn Greensboro, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of the band. (item 5)
        Notes [1986] about the Remarks to be made at the Placement of the Plaque Commemorating the B-1 U.S. Navy Band at Hargraves Recreation Center Robertson Street Chapel Hill N.C. Holograph notes. 1 item. 1 p. Note: written on verso 1980 census printed form. (item 6)
        Band One United States Navy World War II Program (2 August 1986) "The Unveiling and Dedication of Plaque Commemorating Community Services Rendered During World War II" Hargraves Recreation Center Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. Saturday. Brochure. 2 items. 12 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band, The Litany of Unveiling and Dedication, Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1825 - 1878; John B. Dykes, 1823 - 1876; band roster. (item 7)
        B-1 Band Reunion United States Navy - World War II Program (1 - 3 August 1986) Holiday Inn, 3460 Hillsborough Road (at I-85) Durham, N.C. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band. (item 8)
        B-1 United States Navy Band Reunion Program (12 - 17 July 1988) Cockatoo Inn 4334 West Imperial Highway Hawthorne, California. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. Note: includes historical sketch of band. (item 9)
        Awards Banquet In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the United States Navy Band - 1 Program (8 August 1992) 7:00 p.m. Holiday Inn North, Winston-Salem, N.C. 1942 - 1992. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 10)
        52nd Anniversary United States Navy Band-1 In Remembrance The Honorable James B. Parsons United States District Judge Direct Judge Directing the School of Music Band Program (7 - 11 August 1994) Stardust Resort & Casino + Las Vegas. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 11)
        56th Anniversary United States Navy Band I Dedicated to our wives for their love and support through the years (27 - 30 August 1998) Ramada Inn & Conference Center Williamsburg, VA. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 12)
        57th Anniversary: B-1 United States Navy Band (7 - 10 September 1999) Holiday Inn Boardwalk Atlantic, N.J. Pamphlet. 1 item, 16 p. Note: includes historical, portraits & biographical sketches of 48 band members. (item 13)
        Band One Fifty Ninth Reunion Program (21 - 23 September 2001) Hampton Inn Morehead City, North Carolina. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 14)
        U.S. Navy B-1 Banquet 61st anniversary (18 October 2003) Saturday, Mendenhall Student Center East Carolina University; with special guests Tuskegee Airmen Rev. Sam Hardy, Wilson Eagleson and guest speaker Leonard Hunter. Leaflet, 1 item., 2 p. (item 15)
        U.S. Navy B-1 Band, 62nd Reunion presents An Evening with Good Friends (21 August 2004) Four Point Sheraton, Columbus, Georgia. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p. (item 16)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 64th Anniversary Reunion (15 - 17 September 2006) Sands Oceans Club 9550 Shore Drive Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (843) 449-6461. Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 3 p. (item 17)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 65th Anniversary (31 August - 2 September 2007) Hargraves Recreation Center 216 N. Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516. Pamphlet. 1 item. 10 p. Note: Includes historical photographs, historical sketch; autographs; band roster; lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 18)
        The Forgotten First: B-1 United States Navy Band 66th Anniversary Banquet Program (30 August 2008) Hargraves Recreation Center 216 N. Roberson Street Chapel Hill, N.C. 27516 6:30 p.m. Photocopy typescript. 1 item. 9 p. Note: Includes notes of remarks; historical photographs, historical sketch; autographs; band roster; lyrics of The Negro National Anthem, by James Weldon Johnson (17 June 1871 - 26 June 1938); lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 19)
        The Forgotten First: The B-1 U.S. Navy Band 70th Anniversary Celebration Banquet "Marching Into History" Program (14 April 2012), Saturday, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Memorial Student Union, Stallings Ballroom. Flyer. 2 items. 2 p. (item 20)
        B-1 United States Navy Band, 71st Anniversary Program (23 - 25 August 2013) Hampton Inn Suites 6121 Farrington Road Chapel Hill, N.C. 27517. Pamphlet. 1 item. 7 p. Note: historical photographs, biographical sketch of James Parson (1911 - 1993) first Black federal district court judge; also lyrics & music for Navy Hymn: Eternal Father, Strong to Save, by William Whiting, 1860, 1869 & John B. Dykes, 1861. (item 21)
        B - 1 US Navy Band Shoulder Patch [undated] Photocopy. 1 item. 2 p. Note: verso is marked "237" (item 22)


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