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Reunion features US Navy Showband and South Atlantic fleet jazz band

(Oct. 15, 2003)   —   During the 1940s, young black men were recruited from the Greensboro area to serve in the US Navy B-1 Band at the pre-flight school in Chapel Hill. The 44-member regimental band comprised the first African-Americans to serve in the modern Navy at any rank other than galley or steward.

This weekend, surviving members of the band will hold a reunion at East Carolina University that includes a performance by the North Carolina A&T Jazz band and an intergenerational concert that spans seven decades of A&T students and alumni.

"Music was used as a way to present the idea of integration in a softer, less confrontational way," said ECU English professor Alex Albright, who serves as the band's historian. "They were at the forefront of the integration." About 15 veterans from the band will attend this weekend's events at ECU. Most are graduates of North Carolina A&T University.

As part of the annual reunion of the US Navy B-1 Band there will be a free concert at 8 p.m. Friday in the Wright Auditorium at East Carolina University.

For more information contact Alex Albright at 252-328-4876 or 252-749-7974 or


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481