Calvin Morrow

Calvin Morrow was one of the nine Dudley High School students who joined B-1. Because he was still a credit short when he enlisted, he came back to Dudley after the war and is officially a member of its class of 1946.

Afterwards, he attended A and T, playing in the band under the direction of his B-1 bandmate Walter Carlson. After earning his business administration & education degree, he taught at A and T for ten years, including classes in shoe repair and business. The rest of his career was spent at elementary schools in the area: 8 years teaching at Caldwell, and then as principal at Reeder, 1968-1971, Murphy, 1971-1974, Claxton, 1974-1979, Lindley, 1979-1983, and Peeler Open, 1983-1986, when he retired after 36 years in education.

In Hawaii, he said, “That red clay got in our clothes and my underclothes were never white again. We finally got some grass to grow up on that hill, though.”

“I’d been playing French horn,” he said, “and [Walter] Carlson had been the bugle boy, but once we got there, I became the main bugle boy. Woke everybody up and played ‘Reveille,’ and then when we took the flag down I played ‘Taps.’ On Saturdays, I went around with Grady Avent, that S.O.B., and played “attention” for the inspections–I’d play three quick bars [brr-rrr rit!]”

Calvin signs copies of “The Forgotten First” at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro

“It was like a family,” recalled about being a part of B-1. “Before that, the only image the Navy had of blacks was as servants. Anybody that saw that band, they could say the Navy has made some progress. We could be seen as a role model, so others could say, I can be something more than jst a servant. Some of the white sailors’d see our music insignia and wouldn’t believe it, but we broke the barrier.”