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HBCU {Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Marching Bands

Check out this article on the history of HBCU Marching Bands!

By most accounts, the first-ever black college football game, played in Salisbury, N.C, in December 1892, had a festive, picnic-like atmosphere not much different from the mood of the games today. But something was missing.

Fans were in the stands. The teams—Biddle (now Johnson C. Smith University) and nearby Livingstone College—played two 45-minute halves of football. There was a break at halftime.

What was missing? The staple of today’s black college football halftime—the drum major opening the show by high-kicking his way to midfield then doing his trademark back bend until his head touches the ground; the marching band struttin’ onto the field with superb instrumentation and intricate formations; the dance squad displaying dazzling style and steps.

The showmanship and pageantry were absent at other college football games of that era, as well. In fact, before the 1920s very few schools had marching bands. But that would change—with black schools in Alabama helping to usher in the marching band era on college campuses.

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