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Talladega College Band to March in Trump's Inaugural Parade

Image: Talladega College Band to March in Trump's Inaugural Parade

By    |   Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 04:04 PM

The marching band of Alabama's oldest historically black liberal arts college will march in President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural parade later this month, the president of Talladega College said Thursday.

"The inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power," President Billy Hawkins said in announcing his decision. "We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade."

The Talladega College Marching Tornadoes were among 40 groups, including high school bands and military organizations scheduled, to appear in Trump's inaugural parade on Jan. 20.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced the line-up on Friday.

Other groups, including the Radio City Rocketts and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, have also come under fire for agreeing to appear at Trump's inauguration.

Talladega was founded in 1867 by descendants of the slaves who helped to build the college's first building, according to its website.

The college's plan to participate set off a harsh debate on its social media sites, including dueling petitions on Change.org.

Hawkins cited a petition support the band's appearance by member and student Dollan Young in his decision.

The petition had more than 400 signatures on Thursday — and Young's position was endorsed by William Harvey, a Talladega alum who now is the president of Hampton University, another historically black educational institution.

"It will be a wonderful learning experience for the students in the band," Harvey said, according to the announcement. "It will be a teachable moment for them to understand the importance of supporting the leader of the free world, despite one's political viewpoint."

But Shirley Ferrill, of Fairfield, Ala., is a former Talladega band member who graduated in 1974, opposed the Trump move.

Her petition had more than 1,900 signatures on Thursday.

"The good is that the excellent musicians of Talladega's marching band will have exposure," Ferrill told CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Thursday. "They'll be able to apply their skills and talents and represent the school well."

Still, she said she will not be watching Talladega march in the inaugural parade.

"I don't support Donald Trump as president because of the comments and behavior he has exhibited toward African Americans throughout his candidacy," she said. "I do not want the band to participate in the inauguration."

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The marching band of Alabama's oldest historically black liberal arts college will march in President-elect Donald Trump's inaugural parade later this month, the president of Talladega College said Thursday.
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2017-04-05
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 04:04 PM
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