UNC awarded one of 4 “Annapolises of the Air,” for U.S. Navy PreFlight training in East, to start May 1 and by July 1 to have 1,875 enrolled. Other Navy PreFlight training centers to be established at the University of Georgia for the South, University of Iowa for the Midwest, and St. Mary’s College near San Francisco for the West. Each was originally intended to have an all-black band, but that only happened at UNC and at St. Mary’s.UNC interim President Carmichael made this announcement on Feb. 27, while Frank Porter Graham was in Washington working with the War Labor Board.
Navy officers arrive on UNC campus to start work on PreFlight school, and Frank Porter Graham is back in town.
In the Richard Harrison Players’ presentation of Emperor Jones at A&T are future B-1 bandsmen Filmore Haith and Arthur Guy.
First draft lottery since 1918 to be held on March 17.
Gov. Broughton writes to interim UNC President Carmichael about Navy representatives Kessing, Webb, and Hamilton visiting in the Governor’s office to “discuss some of the details relative to the Naval Aviation Induction Center at Chapel Hill.”
A&T training training for civilian pilots begins, including John & Walter Carlson in first class for pilots.
Gov. J. Melville Broughton sends telegram to F.D. Bluford, president of A&T; J.W. Seabrooke, President of Fayetteville State Teachers College [now Fayetteville State University]; Dr. James E. Shepard, president of North Carolina College, now NC Central University; and C.C. Spaulding, founder and president of North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance in Durham: “Will you please meet me in my office Friday morning April 17 at 10:00 for a conference on a matter of importance.”
— 25 Negroes drafted at Greensboro #1
22 Negroes drafted at Greensboro #3
US Navy Lt. John P. Graff writes to Town of Chapel Hill, proposing to house “a U.S. Navy Band composed entirely of colored musicians” at the Community Center, not yet completed. “Because the Navy wishes to “give these musicians quarters comparable with anything on the campus of the University,” he says the “Navy is calling for the patriotic cooperation of the local colored citizens,” in giving up the Community Center “for the duration of the war.”
A&T gets 4-year ROTC unit, with Robert Lee Campbell directing. Three other Negro colleges are awarded a senior unit: Hampton Institute, West Virginia State, and Prairie View State Normal College.
Thirteen A&T students to join the Navy to be in the band stationed at the PreFlight school at UNC; they will be housed at the Negro Community Center in Chapel Hill. All have been passed by the district recruiting station at Raleigh: Gibbs, Brower, Haith, Yourse, Holt, Woods, Butler, Morgan, Currie, Clay, Skinner, White, and Gavin. These are, technically, the very first African Americans allowed to enlist at rank other than steward although their service, like that of their fellow bandsmen, will not become official until they are sworn in at Raleigh on May 27, 1942.
Six students from A&T added to the band for the UNC PreFlight school: Williamson, Guy, Lawrence, Thurman, Wilson, & Siler.
“I Am An American Day” at A&T features A&T’s 50-piece band under direction of Bernard T. Mason. According to the Greensboro Daily News: “Some of the members of the band will soon be leaving for Chapel Hill, where they will form the nucleus for the first Negro band” (1:2).
Negotiations reported as progressing for housing Navy band at UNC.
Gibson’s enlistment at Greensboro reported.
Morrow enlists at Greensboro [GDN May 24, 1942]
U.S. Navy PreFlight School dedicated at Chapel Hill, while a May Day Festival at A&T attracts 500.
16 Negroes drafted by #2 in Greensboro.
A&T ROTC drill reported, 200 witness.
Bandsmen enter active service at Raleigh and the band leaves for Norfolk.
First PreFlight students arrive at Chapel Hill.
A&T commencement activities begin with banquet.
Enlistments of Lake & Morehead reported; A&T holds class day.
Largest class in North Carolina College history hears commencement speaker Dr. Norman Vincent Peale.
242 more PreFlight cadets arrive at Chapel Hill, joining first 242 who arrived last week.
Chicago Defender reports “First Colored Navy Band Unit Drawn from These” with photo of A&T band: “This is the crack A and T College Band, Greensboro, N.C. from which thirteen members were taken to form the nucleus of the first colored Navy Band by the Navy Recruiting Station in Greensboro recently. A total of 45 will be selected to compose the organization. They were scheduled to train four weeks at the Naval Training Station, Norfolk, Va. before reporting to Chapel Hill, N.C. as the official band of the new aviation center at the University of North Carolina, which formally opened May 23. Under direction of Professor Bernard Lee [Mason], the A&T Band has become recognized as one of the finest college organizations of its kind in the country.”
Ironically, the same issue of the Defender reports the enlistment on June 5 of the first African-American (Doreston Luke Carmen, Jr., of Galveston, Texas) accepted under its new policy of admitting blacks at general ratings–the same policy that allowed the formation of B-1.
Greensboro goes into “dim-out rules” for duration of war. “All exterior sign and window lights be extinguished between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.”
American Heroes Day in Norfolk, B-1 performs. Parade, bond rally at Booker T. Theatre.
Work for PreFlight school housing in Chapel Hill is ongoing: “The Negro community center is being renovated to accommodate members of the preflight school’s Negro band.” GDN, July 26, 1942, 1:4
Gov. Broughton appoints two Negroes to board at A&T, first time ever.
B-1 arrives in Chapel Hill for duty. Greensboro Daily News reports: “The United States navy pre-flight school here today acquired the first and only all-Negro band in the navy when 42 Negro musicians reported for duty today.”
Norfolk Journal-Guide reports that the “second all-colored Navy Band was inducted in Detroit” last week, and that “the first colored navy band” had departed Norfolk for Chapel Hill.
The U.S. Navy reports that Leonard L. Bowden has become the first African-American sailor to serve in the modern Navy at rank other than galley. The men of B-1 had already completed training and served for three weeks at their first duty station, in Chapel Hill, when Bowden enlisted. A former band director at Tuskegee Institute, Bowden was to become bandmaster at Camp Smalls at Great Lakes and was in charge of the first recruiting there of musicians.
B-1 presents its first concert at Kenan Stadium, “enjoyed by a good crowd. Not yet dark when the concert was given and the white uniforms of the musicians, against the background of the rich green turf, made an impressive picture.” [CW 4 Sept 1942: 5].
B-1 presents a concert at NC College for Negroes, Durham.
B-1 Plays for Orange County Training School, an outdoors show. [CW 10.16.42:1]
A Founders Day concert in Harrison Auditorium on the A& T campus marks for many bandsmen their first return to Greensboro since their enlistment.
Kate Smith broadcasts two shows from Memorial Hall on the UNC campus, the first for PreFlight Cadets, second free for all, with a 22-piece orchestra selected from B-1 for the performance. CW 11.13.42: 3
Chapel Hill Board of Aldermen to investigate charges brought by Daily Tar Heel of abusing Negro prisoners by Chapel Hill police.
At a meeting at St Paul’s AME in Chapel Hill, Rev. Charles Jones was elected chair of group, “to solidify the fight against racism.” 30 attend. (Pryor 92)
A Community Sing presented at Memorial Hall was scripted by Paul Green and featured B-1 performing. [CW 12-11-42:1]
The National Munitions Corp. Army-NavyE Award ceremony in Carrboro, with B-1 band playing, is broadcast over Durham and Raleigh radio stations, a “gala event.” [CW]
Feb 10 43
For PreFlight wrestling and boxing matches, music was furnished by “Our US Navy Pre-Flight School Band, J.B. Parsons, 1st mus., USNR, director. Wrestlers opposed NC State and the boxing team fought vs. Ft. Bragg US Army. [PRO]
At a smoker in Memorial Hall, the Cloudbusters performed.
B-1 presented a concert at the Orange County Training School. [PRO]
B-1 performed for the annual Dress Parade of Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, in Kenan Stadium.
B-1 performed for the first anniversary celebration of the Navy PrFlight school, in Kenan Stadium.
B-1 plays for UNC’s commencement in Kenan Stadium and also for an open air concert for the public.
B-1 performs for PreFlight graduation exercises in Kenan Stadium, with Gov. Broughton presenting diplomas and UNC President Graham speaking.
Cloudbusters play for smoker at Emerson Field. PRO
B-1 performed at the gala celebration of the launching of USS Merrick in Wilmington, 20,000 attending. B-1 was also honored at a buffet in Wilmington, “sponsored by the colored employees of the NC shipbuilding company.” [PRO]
B-1 presented a public concert at the Forest Theatre, “a band of 44 Negroes,” who will “perform on alternate Sundays thru Aug & Sept.: Aug 15 & 29 & Sept 12 & 26. [CW]
B-1 concert in Forest Theatre
B-1 performed for a war bond rally in Memorial Hall, where a section of seats was set aside for Negroes. [CW]
B-1 led a parade and subsequent war bond rally for “the Negroes of Durham.” [DH 9-19-43:1:4 and DH 9-25-43]
B-1 performed for the Navy Day Program at City Auditorium, Raleigh.
B-1 performed at Founders Day at NC A&T, Harrison Auditorium.
B-1 featured at the President’s Birthday celebration, which doubles as a campaign against paralysis. [CW]
On his “Town Meeting of the Air,” Gov. Broughton says “The Negroes of North Carolina do not seek social equality and have never sought it.” [BrUNC]
B-1 left Chapel Hill
In what proved to be a major incident in Chapel Hill that ultimately led to the Rev. Jones leaving the pulpit of Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church, some members of B-1’s replacement band were observed walking aside white coeds on Franklin Street. This incident has also been mis-remembered locally as having occurred while B-1 was still in Chapel Hill, involving B-1 bandsmen and not their replacements [Pryor]
At Manana Barracks, Pearl Harbor, B-1 performed for the dedication of a new theater. [PRO]
The Cavalcade of Bands, hosted by Manana Meteors at Manana Barracks, featured 5 bands, including Hellcats [PRO]
“Happy Hour [at Manana Barracks]” with the Manana Meteors performing [PRO]
Otto Harris and the Moonglowers debut as B-1’s swing orchestra no. 2 at B.O.Q. [PRO, w/ roster.]
Moonglowers’ performed their 2nd engagement, at the Fuller USO club, a segregated club for African-American service personnel.
The Moonglowers performed at Fuller USO Club in Pearl City.
B-1 played for Manana’s Happy Hour
B-1 performed at a football game between Aiea Naval B vs. Support Depot Marines [?] PRO
Sequicentennial celebration of Naval Supply featureed the “Manana Barracks Naval Band.”
The B-1 swing band played for a quiz program on base
The B-1 swing band played before a movie at Manana
B-1 performed for civilian housing area #3
The B-1 swing band played before a movie at Manana
B-1 played for a naval housing event
B-1 swing band played before movie at Manana
B-1 performed at Camp Gatlin
Walter Carlson presented Musical Varieties at open air theatre, with the Manana Meteors, featuring original songs and arrangements and comedy skits. [PRO]
Morrow discharged. [PP]
Historic marker commemorating B-1’s service installed in Chapel Hill.
BrUNC=Gov. Broughton Papers, NC State Archives, Raleigh, “UNC” file
CW= Chapel Hill Weekly
PP= personal papers
PRO= Program from event