Donald Trump is set to officially be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States in about two weeks, and while there’s a laundry list of high-profile groups and public figures who declined his invitation to participate in the ceremony, the Talladega College marching band isn’t one of them.
Hailed as Alabama’s oldest private Historically Black College founded by descendants of slaves in 1867, it was reported on Friday that the school accepted an invitation for their band to march among some 40 other groups that will take part in the event.
Given the consistent lack of regard Trump has shown for the Black community throughout the duration of his 2016 presidential campaign, news of the Talladega College Marching Tornadoes participating in the ceremony has sparked outrage. Among those who voiced their disapproval is alumni Shirley Ferrill, who graduated from Talladega in 1974.
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“We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation,” Ferrill said on Monday, according to the Associated Press. “I don’t want my alma mater to give the appearance of supporting him. Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don’t send our band out in our name to do that.”
Seinya SamForay, also among the hundreds who took to social media to share criticism of the band’s decision, referenced how poorly Black people were treated at Trump’s rallies during election season.
“After how black people were treated at Trump’s rallies, you’re going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what?” SamForay reportedly said in an interview.
“What they did is a slap in the face to other Black universities.”
Talladega College officials have yet to issue a statement on its participation in the inauguration or the public response to the news.