Talladega College said it needed $75,000 to carry out the controversial decision to have its marching band perform in President-electDonald J. Trump’s inaugural parade Friday.
As of Monday, donors have pledged more than $400,000 on the Alabama school’s GoFundMe page and an appearance by the historically Black college’s President Billy C. Hawkins last Friday on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News seems to have been the catalyst for the outpouring.
Prior to the show, about $50,000 had been raised to send the Marching Tornadoes to Washington for the inauguration.
Numerous celebrities have declined to participate in the event in an effort not to be seen as supporting some of Trump’s more controversial political positions and Talladega College had come under fire in particular as being the only HBCU participating.
“Some alumni have come at me pretty hard; they don’t want the band to participate and say I am a disgrace to my race,” Hawkins said on the show. “But this is about the students having an opportunity to participate in this national ceremony.”
In addition, Hawkins expressed hope for the future in terms of national visibility and increased access to federal funding for his institution.
“If you don’t come to the table, you’re not going to be able to eat,” Hawkins said. “Talladega College is going to be at the table.”