The United States Navy Band of the Virgin Islands (1917–1923)

Mark Clague

in The Memoirs of Alton Augustus Adams, Sr.

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780520251311
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933811 | DOI:
The United States Navy Band of the Virgin Islands (1917–1923)

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This chapter offers an account of the desperate economic and social situation on the Virgin Islands prior to their transfer from Denmark to the United States, setting the stage for the argument about the navy's positive contributions. The story of the United States Navy Band of the Virgin Islands follows its inception, expanding activities, and social initiatives. This band served as a bridge between the navy and native Virgin Islanders, between white and black. The band's public concerts, educational outreach, and tours contributed to the development of both the islands' community identity and their tourist industry. Adams is an exemplar of a self-made man who took full advantage of shifting circumstance to realize what many thought impossible—a vibrant musical career in a location once considered lacking in opportunity. By working with the navy, Adams reached new heights of artistic performance and creativity.

Keywords: United States Navy Band; Virgin Islands; tourist industry; musical career; community identity

Chapter.  17380 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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