The marching band of Alabama’s oldest private, historically black liberal arts college has accepted an invitation to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade, organizers said.
Talladega College’s band will march at Trump’s inauguration as other historically black schools such as Howard University, which performed at President Barack Obama’s first inaugural parade, said they won’t be marching in the Jan. 20 event.
The move has lit up Talladega College’s social media sites with a sharp debate about the band’s decision to participate in the parade. Some people voiced strong opposition, while others support the band’s participation.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Friday that the Talladega College Marching Tornadoes was among 40 groups, including high school bands and military organizations, scheduled to perform in the parade. Some members of the Marist College band in upstate New York, also scheduled to perform at the inauguration, say they won’t participate, a school spokesman said Monday.
The college was founded in 1867, by the descendants of the slaves who helped to build its first building, according to historical documents on the college’s website.
The decision to march in Trump’s inaugural parade has also sparked controversy at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The band will be marching, but some of its members will be staying home, school spokesman Greg Cannon said Monday.
About six to eight Marist band members among more than 100 have said they won’t perform, Cannon said. He said there won’t be any repercussions for those students, and they will still have a place in the band when it returns from Washington, D.C.