Howard University alumni and students were likely disappointed that the famous HBCU‘s annual homecoming festivities were canceled last fall, but it looks like they’re getting a second chance at it for Inauguration Day on Wednesday.
That’s when one of its own, Kamala Harris, will officially be sworn into office and become the first Black woman to be Vice President of the United States. Harris—who studied political science and economics—graduated from Howard in 1986.
But Wednesday is also when the Howard University drumline will escort her and soon-to-be President Joe Biden to the White House as part of the historic event’s virtual “Parade Across America,” which is substituting for the traditional march down Pennsylvania Avenue that can’t be held this year because of coronavirus pandemic social distancing guidelines.
Howard’s inclusion was announced Monday morning.
Howard’s drumline — another term for the group of percussionists in a marching band — will be joined by one from the University of Delaware, Biden’s alma mater.
Both drumlines will be a part of a larger virtual procession that will include representation from all branches of the U.S. armed forces, such as the U.S. Army Band, a Joint Service Honor Guard and the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard and Fife and Drum Corps from the 3rd U.S. Infantry “The Old Guard,” according to USA TODAY.
Aside from Howard’s drumline from its “Showtime” marching band, the “Parade Across America” will have some extra added flavor with Earth Wind & Fire, Nile Rodgers and singer and actress Andra Day.
Howard’s pride in Harris is not a secret.
Back when she and Biden’s election was confirmed, Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick penned a powerful statement about Harris’ dedication to civic leadership and her relentless fight to advocate for underrepresented and underserved groups.
“A new dawn has broken in America,” Frederick wrote back in early November. “Senator Kamala Harris has swung her Howard hammer and shattered the proverbial glass ceiling into pieces that will not be put back together. As the new Vice President-elect, we know she will continue advancing her vision of a nation where all people – regardless of race, creed, gender, background, or ethnicity – have access to equitable opportunities to grow and succeed. At a time when the Black community is coping with the disproportionate social and economic impacts of COVID-19, a global reckoning with systemic racism, and the loss of some of our cultural and social icons, we are proud to call Howard University alumna Kamala Harris a monumental catalyst for collective joy and positive change.”
Monday also marked the day that Harris will resign her seat, moving her one step closer to realizing her historic installment of the first Black vice president of the United States of America.