On New Year's Day, the Alabama State University's Mighty Marching Hornets led the 130th annual Rose Bowl Parade processional in Pasadena, California.
The Historically Black College and University marching band was sought by Gerald Freeny, the first African American president of the Tournament of Roses.
The history of HBCU’s participating in the Rose Bowl Parade dates back to the 1960s. In 1965, Mississippi Valley State University became the first HBCU to participate. They were also the first HBCU to be invited back a second time. 41 years after their first appearance, in 2006, Alabama A&M University's Marching Maroon and White Band became the first HBCU to actually lead the annual parade. Blazing the trail for Alabama State University’s band to lead the way this year.
With the first Black president at the helm, ASU's band leading and the “Florida A&M Marching 100” among the other 20 marching bands participating, this year provided an extra dose of high-stepping Black Excellence for viewers. And, there were upwards of 70 million people in over 150 countries to bare witness.
Thank you to Gerald Freeny and Alabama A&M for blazing the trail that others will continue to fall into formation to follow!