25 February 2014

All-Black Navy Band Broke a Racial Barrier

Another article spotted in my local newspaper “Professor’s book recalls all-black Navy band” recently caught my eye.

During Black History Month we are frequently reminded of some of the landmark moments of the Civil Rights era.  Just like with genealogy research, not all advancements (or big moments) were made (occurred) in the spotlight or in expected ways.  Much that happens in the world is by individuals or small groups taking “one step at a time” which in hind-sight ends up being momentous.

In this case ... “a Naval pilot training school opened at the UNC-CH, The late Frank Porter Graham, then the school’s president, and members of the Roosevelt administration, decided to recruit an all-black band [B-1] to play at the school.”  At the time, blacks were only allowed to serve the Navy as mess men and stewards.

An online exhibition by the University of North Carolina, A Nursery of Patriotism, also talks about this same band ...

The precedent-setting all-black Navy Pre-Flight School band was designated as the official band for the Chapel Hill cadets in 1942. Until that time, the Navy had only assigned blacks as mess hands and cooks. During its time in Chapel Hill, the band played for flag-raising ceremonies, regimental reviews, wartime rallies, and social occasions.

This was the start of the Navy becoming integrated after blacks were banned from serving after WWI. It started with a band, a vibrant and necessary part of Navy life. “The Navy now recognizes the members of B-1 as the ones who integrated its ranks.”

In your family tree, did you have family members who were instrumental in breaking a “racial barrier?” If so, please tell us about them and what they did.

copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
NGS does not imply endorsement of any outside advertiser or other vendors appearing in this blog.
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to [email protected]. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
Follow NGS via Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter
Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to [email protected]

No comments:

Post a Comment