The decision follows several days of controversy after the Talladega Marching Tornadoes initially accepted an invitation to perform on January 20, with critics saying the move amounts to support for President-elect Donald Trump. Trump made comments during the presidential campaign that were widely viewed as disparaging to people of color and immigrants.
Talladega College President Billy C. Hawkins announced the final decision in a statement, noting that the “lessons students can learn from this experience cannot be taught in a classroom.”
“We respect and appreciate how our students and alumni feel about our participation in this parade,” said Hawkins. “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.”
Talladega College, located in Talladega, Alabama, is a private, liberal arts college. It holds the distinction as Alabama’s oldest private historically black college. As of 2009 the school received full SACS accreditation. The history of Talladega College began on November 20, 1865, when two former slaves William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met in convention with a group of new freedmen in Mobile, Alabama. From this meeting came the commitment, “…We regard the education of our children and youth as vital to the preservation of our liberties, and true religion as the foundation of all real virtue, and shall use our utmost endeavors to promote these blessings in our common country.”
With this as their pledge, Savery and Tarrant, aided by General Wager Swayne of the Freedmen’s Bureau, began in earnest to provide a school for the children of former slaves of the community. Their leadership resulted in the construction of a one-room school house using lumber salvaged from an abandoned carpenter’s shop. The school overflowed with pupils from its opening and soon it was necessary to move into larger quarters.
Meanwhile, the nearby Baptist Academy was about to be sold under mortgage default. This building had been built in 1852-53 with the help of slaves – including Savery and Tarrant. A speedy plea was sent to General Swayne for its purchase. General Swayne in turn persuaded the American Missionary Association to buy the building and some 20 acres (81,000 m2) of land for $23,000. (Wikipedia)