The Chapel Hill Historical Society


B-1: How NC A&T and UNC Integrated the Modern US Navy

Presentation by Alex Albright, Eastern Carolina University

Sunday, February 18, 2018 3:00-5:00 PM
Meeting Room B
Chapel Hill Public Library
100 Library Drive
Chapel Hill, NC

When the Navy established a Pre-Flight Training School at UNC during World War II, a 45-piece band of music students from NC A&T played for the raising of colors, drill practice in the TinCan, and marching the white cadets to their classes. It was the first meaningful integration of the modern Navy. But because of strict segregation laws and customs, the bandsmen had to find quarters in Northside with the local black community. Every day they marched to campus, then returned for lunch in full uniform, playing. The local black community embraced these talented musicians and what they represented.

Alex Albright will explain the complicated racial dynamics of North Carolina and the integration of the military. His presentation will include period documents and recordings from the band. Albright is Associate Professor of English at Eastern Carolina University. He was the founding editor of the North Carolina Literary Review. He has written and produced two musical productions, including the UNC-TV documentary "Boogie in Black and White." He is the author of The Forgotten First: B-1 and the Integration of the Modern Navy (2013). This presentation is made possible through funding from the North Carolina Humanities Council. The North Carolina Humanities Council is a nonprofit foundation and a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Image: US Navy photo courtesy of the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-CH

Free and open to the public. Call the Chapel Hill Historical Society for information: 919-929-1793.