With the Presidential Inauguration just fifteen short days away, a small historically black college in Alabama has come under fire for its reported involvement in the ceremony.
The Talladega College marching band will participate in the 58th inauguration as President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office on January 20th.
The Talladega Marching Tornadoes are facing increased scrutiny from many who viewed Trump's campaign as full of hate rhetoric that was both hurtful and divisive. President-elect Trump has been labeled xenophobic, racist and a white supremacist, which is why many have been left dumbfounded by Talladega's willingness to perform at his inauguration.
"We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade," said the school's president, Billy C. Hawkins, in a statement. "As many of those who chose to participate in the parade have said, we feel the inauguration of a new president is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power."
However, many of Talladega's former and current students share the outrage of others along with embarrassment of the school being a part of Trump's swearing-in ceremony. Others, however, echo the sentiments of Hawkins and believe the ceremony to be in honor of the highest office in United States and not the individual assuming it.
Talladega College was founded in 1867 by former slaves and is the oldest private historically black liberal arts college in Alabama.
As a graduate of an HBCU myself, I would have to disagree with Talladega's decision to participate in Trump's inauguration. Whether it be the way he ran his campaign for 18 months or his bizzare claims against the authenticity of President Obama's birth and citizenship, he has consistently treated blacks, Muslims, women, and immigrants as second class citizens.
Offering Talladega to perform at the inauguration is like being extended an offer with the same hand that slapped you in the face. Hawkins is correct in his assessment that they are honoring the office, but the person who occupies it is a representation of all Americans and I don't believe that he accurately reflects the positions of any of the people he offended. I'm wholeheartedly glad that my alma mater is not participating in the inauguration of Donald Trump, and wish that Talladega had followed the lead of many others who respectfully declined out of principal.