B-1 us Navy band

historical marker unveiling   75 years (May 27, 1942 - May 27, 2017)

A North Carolina state marker to commemorate the first U.S. Navy Band B-1, has been placed at the corner of Roberson and Franklin streets in Chapel Hill. Band B-1 was attached to the Navy’s PreFlight School on the UNC campus from July 1942 – April 1944.  The U.S. Navy B-1 was comprised of young African American men who were enrolled at North Carolina A and T University and Dudley High School. Enlistees also came from North Carolina Central, Hampton Institute, South Carolina State, Johnson C. Smith, and Hillside High School in Durham. Two of the original B-1 members Simeon Holloway (age 97), Las Vegas, and Calvin Morrow (age 93), Greensboro, spoke of their B-1 experiences. Many of the B-1 family members celebrated with them. 

Because of North Carolina’s segregationist laws, the bandsmen could not live or be fed on UNC's campus. They were housed in a newly constructed community building on Roberson Street that is now the Hargraves Recreation Center. Their service included daily marches from Hargraves to the UNC campus, where B-1 played for the raising of colors for the cadets every morning and other campus activities. Their precision marches down Franklin Street were revered by the entire community.

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