The president of a historically black college in Alabama is standing firm on his decision to allow his school's marching band to attend the Inauguration Day festivities for President-elect Donald Trump after receiving an invitation.
Dr. Billy C. Hawkins said the chance for Talladega College's "Marching Tornadoes" to take part in the inaugural parade is a "great opportunity for students", and was overjoyed after an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" caused a major spike in his band's fundraising.
Hawkins previously discussed the band's invitation with Bill O'Reilly last week, and told Arthel Neville on Sunday that an additional $300,000 has since come in to help the band make the trip north to the nation's capital.
However, he said that his eagerness to have his band attend the inauguration has resulted in numerous critical and threatening messages from opponents of Trump.
There are some "mean-spirited folks out there," Hawkins said, but said such a barrage of messages won't stop his school from taking part in a "historic opportunity."
"The closer we get to Friday, the more excited I become," Hawkins said.
With the leftover funds, Hawkins hopes to provide his band new uniforms and new transportation for future events.
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