By Don Valentine
Paraphrasing the title of a song by the Clash, Talladega’s Marching Tornadoes had this dilemma. According to CBS News, Alabama’s oldest private Historically Black College has agreed to participate and march, despite Trump’s controversial campaign statements about Blacks. We are all well aware of Trump’s ubiquitous critique of our Black community. Trump did not have to search very far to find a sterling example of the Black ethos.
Does the unique experience of participating in the peaceful transition of democratic power outweigh having the pride to not be the token Black marching band for President Elect Trump? Given his “Point-Blank” honest view about you and your community, it should be easy to have the temerity to say, “No we won’t go”. Talladega College Alumni are fighting back over the Marching Band’s planned performance. The Alumni and current band members have instigated enough pressure to cause University President Dr. Billy C. Hawkins to reevaluate his original position.
It was reported by the New York Times 1-5-’17 that University President Dr. Billy Hawkins finally decided the band would participate. He rationalized his decision by saying, “”We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” Dr. Hawkins said. “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.”
You can translate that to say that this tiny H.B.C.U. will not see the national spot light again in Dr. Hawkins lifetime. He plans on enjoying every fundraising and prestige opportunity his school’s “Steppin-Fetch It” engagement affords.
The original founders of this school, created just after the Civil War, are spinning in their graves. Consider that the nationally prominent H.B.C.U. schools like, Howard, Grambling, F.A.M.U, Fisk and Southern all declined to participate. Let me close by saying this: Dr. Hawkins, let’s see how much pride that “30 Pieces of Silver” buys.