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The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr. – First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy - California Scholarship Online
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The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.: First Black Bandmaster of the United States Navy

Alton Augustus Adams, Sr. and Mark Clague


Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., was a musician, writer, hotelier, and the first black bandmaster of the United States Navy. Born in the Virgin Islands in 1889, Adams joined the U.S. military in 1917. Although naval policy at the time restricted blacks to menial jobs, Adams and his all-black ensemble provided a bridge between the local population and their all-white naval administrators. His memoirs reveal an inspired activist who believed music could change the world, mitigate racism, and bring prosperity to his island home.

Keywords: musician, writer, hotelier, black bandmaster, Virgin Islands, all-black ensemble, racism

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780520251311
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520251311.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Alton Augustus Adams, Sr., author

Mark Clague, editor