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Friday, May 24, 2024

Community choir hosts free concert in memory of Black military club

Voices Community Arts Center Choir will hold a free concert at the Hannah Block USO on March 26. (Courtesy/Hannah Block USO)

WILMINGTON — In remembrance of a local USO building, a community choir will offer a free concert honoring the times.

Voices, the Community Arts Center Choir, will hold a concert at 3 p.m. March 26 at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center. The show is being held in memory of the Ninth and Nixon USO building, demolished in 1979.

During World War II, New Hanover County has 13 USO facilities and the Ninth and Nixon location was the only club — opened from 1942 to 1946 — for Black military personnel. It had an enormous impact on the Black social life in the community.

The building was almost identical to the setup of the Hannah Block facility but without a basement. It was sold after the war to the John H. Shaw Boys Club, predecessor to the Boys and Girls Club on site today.

Members of the Isaac Bear Early College High School OSC 4 Justice Club will offer a spoken word performance to honor the contributions and experience of Black military personnel during WWII. OSC 4 Justice was created by junior Samantha Johnson and assists minorities and area residents in need of support.

Another highlight of the event will be a flashback to the 1940s with the WWII era concession stand serving free coffee and 5-cent sodas. Doors open at 2:30 p.m.

The performance is the first in a series of public appearances planned this year for Voices, directed by Silivea Johnson. The group welcomes singers of all ages and experience. To learn more about Voices, visit the website.

Reservations for the concert are available here or by calling 910-341-7860.


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