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History of the HBCU Marching Band

Posted by Aurora Intern on
History of the HBCU Marching Band

Credit: HISTORRICALLY on Youtube

This is a video that discusses the History of the HBCU marching band. This video is by Torri Yates-Orr. She is an Emmy Nominated history communicator. She begins the video speaking about Beyonces impact on the way we see HBCU. In Beyonce's Homecoming, she puts HBCU's and the marching band in the forefront. In Our Way. HBCU's make the marching band and the dancers, the main show, not a half time event. Events are created just to see HBCU marching bands.

Torri states the origin of HBCU marching bands most likely started in the 1700s. Pre revolutionary war people of color had to enlist in the militia and they weren't allowed to have weapons. Instead they decided to get into military bands. They were able to bring back the cultural knowledge of music to their families. In the 1800s, brass instruments were introduced. Almost every black militia had a brass band. They used to parade in the streets to show their talents and recruit more soldiers.

In the 1900s, black military bands added a drum major and a syncopated rhythm to the way the marched. They then brought this culture back to marching bands at HBCUS. The first HBCU band is said to be at Tuskegee University. Alabama State, Kentucky State, and Florida AM soon joined in. At Florida AM, the band decided to add complex choreography. The crowd went wild. In the 1960s, this became the standard of HBCU bands and has continued to this day.

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HBCUs has kept up their versatility, musicality and entertainment. Marching bands at HBCU has been embedded in the black cultural zeitgeist. Beyonce's Homecoming has solidified the impact and shown our magic to everyone else.  

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