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.
"We were a bit horrified to hear of the invitation," said Shirley Ferrill of Fairfield, Alabama, a member of Talladega's Class of 1974.
"I don't want my alma mater to give the appearance of supporting him," Ferrill said of Trump on Monday. "Ignore, decline or whatever, but please don't send our band out in our name to do that."
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.
"After how black people were treated at Trump's rallies, you're going to go and shuck and jive down Pennsylvania Avenue? For what?" Seinya SamForay said in an interview. "What they did is a slap in the face to other black universities."
SamForay, of Chicago, was among dozens of people commenting on the school's social media sites.
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.