After facing fierce backlash, the marching band of Talladega College — Alabama’s oldest private historically black college — has raised over $320,000 to help fund a trip to Washington D.C. to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
“The money will be used for transportation, travel, lodging, and other expenses,” reads a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds for the band’s performance later this month. “It will give students an opportunity to have a memorable experience to see first hand a transition of power and other events.”
Earlier this month, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that some 40 groups and organizations, including Talladega’s Marching Tornados, were accepted to perform in the inaugural parade.
The announcement, however, sparked backlash and outrage from some of the school’s former students.
Talladega College President Billy Hawkins said he was called a “disgrace” to his “African-American race” for agreeing to allow his band to perform in inaugural events.
“They’ve said that I have shamed the college by making this decision, and I’ve had folks to say that I’m a disgrace to my African-America race,” Hawkins said Wednesday on The O’Reilly Factor. “It’s been pretty nasty.”
Funding poured in after Trump transition executive committee member Omarosa Manigault promoted the GoFundMe page on Bill O’Reilly’s popular Fox News show.
The band had set a goal of $75,000 to cover expenses for the 700-mile trip to the nation’s capital. With two days remaining to raise funds, Talladega had raised $331,598 as of Friday afternoon.
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