U.S. Navy B-1 Band Reunion Collection

1942-2014, undated
Manuscript Collection #971
Creator(s)
U.S. Navy B-1 Band
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box, 33 items, 135 pages, Program pamphlets, brochures, leaflets; printed forms; holograph notes; photographic prints
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
Repository
ECU Manuscript Collection
Access
No restrictions

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.


Biographical/historical information

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).


Scope and arrangement

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


Administrative information
Custodial History

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

Source of acquisition

Gift of Alex Albright

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.

Copyright notice

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


Related material

Calvin F. Morrow Collection (#0908) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Simeon O. Holloway Oral History Interview (#OH0215) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Abe Thurman Oral History Interview (#OH0216) ) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

John Gilmer Oral History Interview, (Oral History Collection #OH0214) ) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

U. S. Navy B-1 Band Group Oral History Interview (#OH0213) ) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Roy Lake Oral History Interview (#OH0231) ) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Wray Raphael Herring Collection (#0810) ) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA


Container list
Box 1 Folder a Item 1 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
Box 1 Folder a Item 2 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
Box 1 Folder a Item 3 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)
Box 1 Folder a Item 4 City of Greenville, North Carolina October 14, 2003. [Welcoming letter from Mayor Robert D. Parrott]
Box 1 Folder b Item 1 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 2 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 4 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 5 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 6 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 7 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 8 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 9 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 10 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 11 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 12 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 13 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 14 Band One Fifty Ninth Reunion Program (21 - 23 September 2001) Hampton Inn Morehead City, North Carolina. Brochure. 1 item. 4 p
Box 1 Folder b Item 15 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 16 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 17 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 18 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 19 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 20 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 21 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
Box 1 Folder b Item 22 B - 1 US Navy Band Shoulder Patch [undated] Photocopy. 1 item. 2 p. Note: verso is marked "237"
Box 1 Folder c Item 1 Roger F. Holt Portrait (ca. 1942 - 1945) Photographic print. Black & White. 8" x 10? Note: Verso: "Holt 22 Roger Franklin Holt, B-1 Band member, Musician 3rd Class (played Trombone)"; See biographical sketch: #971.1.b.13
Box 1 Folder d Item 1 72nd Anniversary Celebration Banquet, Hargraves Recreation Center Chapel Hill, N.C. (2 August 2014) Brochures. 2 copies