The biggest family on any HBCU campus is the Marching Band. The closeness needed to carry through what are often long, arduous days of practice, to execute at the highest level is made possible by the kind of legacy that’s left on the field, long after every game is played, and carried on from generation to generation.

The biggest family on any HBCU campus is the Marching Band. The closeness needed to carry through what are often long, arduous days of practice, to execute at the highest level is made possible by the kind of legacy that’s left on the field, long after every game is played, and carried on from generation to generation.

“Alabama has a way of doing things, and you just come together so your awkwardness is not looked at as awkwardness. It’s more like, ‘Where you from? Oh, that’s what y’all do there?’ And they accept it, but you still friends,” says Mr. Jackson.

The choice to come to an HBCU means you’re often looking for an extended family, a bond, a community that’s down to support you in your studies and extracurricular activities. The bottom line? You’re here to perform at your highest level in all areas.

The three “P’s” of a HBCU marching band over the years has evolved into some of the strongest displays of power, precision, and a level of performance that is often rivaled.

“I know, from my experience, even though I went into the band area as a professional and music as a profession, there are a lot of things that I learned in band. Just being able to be confident in front of people. Being able to talk in front of people. Being able to perform in front of people without feeling nervous and all that kind of thing. It carries over,” explains Mr. Lennard, Tuskegee’s Band Director.

“These folks become your friends for life. You have your friends in high school and coming up, but these college friends, especially when it comes to the band, hang together and continue on with bonds formed, long after college,” explains Mr. Jackson.

Film by James Bland // Photography by Elton Anderson // Words by Chatel Theagene