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, edited by Mark Clague, with a foreword by Samuel Floyd, Jr., reveal an inspired activist who believed music could change the world, mitigate racism, and bring prosperity to his island home.
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