Collection contains mainly material related to the African American Navy Band members who served at the Great Lakes Naval Base during World War II (1942-1945). This material includes programs and related material from the February 28-March 2, 2003, salute to these African American band members that was held in Chicago, Illinois, and from former band member Carl Foster's participation in a symposium sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History in 2003. Other material includes programs (1987) for concerts by the North Carolina Jazz Ensemble and a 1945 USO Hawaii booklet.
The bulk of the collection contains material related to the African American Navy Band members who served at the Great Lakes Naval Base during World War II (1942-1945). In 1942, African Americans formed the Navy's first all-black band during World War II. It was the first time that African Americans were allowed to enlist at ranks higher than messman. Enlisting top jazz musicians meant an increased level of entertainment in the Navy. Many musicians were trained at Camp Robert Smalls, one camp that was part of an area known as the Great Lakes, outside of Chicago. During World War II, there were over 6,800 musicians in 285 bands, 100 of which were comprised of African Americans. In 2003, a program called The Great Lakes Experience celebrated the African American Navy Band, jazz musicians, and their musical legacy. News & Record, Greensboro https://www.greensboro.com/honoring-our-veterans/greensboro-man-made-history-in-the-first-black-u-s/article_e1085d07-03bf-5984-ab1d-abee8c2cb8f0.html
R.A. Fountain http://rafountain.com/navy/blacknavybandswwii.html
Most of the collection is related to the African American Navy Bandsmen obtained from band member Carl Foster. Materials include letters of support from U.S. politicians, a program and letter related to Foster's participation in a symposium sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History in 2003, and a program booklet from The Great Lakes Experience. There are other material unrelated to Foster, including programs (1987) for concerts by the North Carolina Jazz Ensemble and a 1945 USO Hawaii booklet. In the collection, there is also an autographed photograph of the African American group The Sharps & Flats when they were performing in Hawaii in 1944.
Gift of Alex Albright.
Processed by Aleck Tan, January 2020
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
U.S. Navy B-1 Reunion Collection (#971) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA