Quartets perform at community sing.

Wilson Daily News, 5 November 1949.

In November 1949, the Eastern Star Quartet, which actually had five members, appeared at a community sing program at Reid Street Community Center alongside the Stantonsburg Jubilaires and Elm City’s Harris Brothers Quartet.

I think Junius Lucas has the guitar, and Ernest Edwards stands behind him to the left. Can you identify the other singers?

Clipping courtesy of J. Robert Boykin III.

Music mural ribbon-cutting!

On a beautiful blue Sunday afternoon, Wilson cut the ribbon at the dedication of the African-American Music Trails mural downtown. Bill Myers and Sam Lathan were on hand to receive their flowers, Gloria Burks‘ descendants stood in her stead, and the Sallie B. Howard School Chorus performed for an appreciative crowd.

Thanks to Michelle Myers Young for sharing the video clip!

A dinner party for the Community Playmakers choristers.

Wilson Daily Times, 27 October 1945.

This brief piece reveals a number of interesting tidbits:

  • There was a Community Playmakers Club.
  • It had a choral division and pianist — Jerry L. Cooke.
  • Sam Roberson was “one of Wilson’s most able caterers.” This is the first reference to an African-American caterer that I’ve come across. He is strangely elusive in census records, but is likely the 24 year-old cook living with his mother Sue Roberson, 42, and sister Nellie B. Roberson, 17, at  506 [South] Goldsboro Street in the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County. If so, in the 1920 census of Wilson: at 510 [South] Goldsboro, widow Sue Robinson, 42; children John, 23, tobacco factory worker, Sam, 19, hotel bellboy, Sudie, 16, tobacco factory worker, and Nellie, 8; and grandson Kemmie, newborn.


Downtown mural honors music legacy.

Shout to out to Freeman Round House and African-American Museum, Wilson Arts, and artist Max Dowdle of N.C. Public Art for this celebration of Wilson’s beloved African American Music Trail icons — William E. Myers, the late Sallie B. Howard, the late Gloria Burks, and Samuel C. Lathan

(Next — a Sam Vick mural?!?)

Handel’s Chorus performs at the Tobacco Festival.

Wilson Daily Times, 10 August 1940.

Hartford Bess’ Handel’s Chorus sang at the 1940 Tobacco Festival, performing scenes that we would today find cringey. In the spirit of “don’t hate the player, hate the game,” I try not to judge.

Harry T. Burleigh Glee Club at the Globe!

Harry T. Burleigh was a classical singer, composer, and arranger known for his adaptations of African-American spirituals. I have found scant documentation, but there appear to have been glee clubs named in his honor in several cities across the country, including Hampton, Virginia, and Dayton, Ohio.

Courtesy of an anonymous reader.

Call for mural artist.

Wilson Arts and The Oliver Nestus Freeman Round House and African American Museum invite muralists located in North Carolina to create a location-specific mural celebrating Wilson as a destination on the African American Music Trail of Eastern North Carolina.

The application deadline is 30 June 2023.

For complete details and to apply, visit

This project is supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.