The President of the Azalea Trail Maids, Ashley Gibson, sent this statement to News 5. She said they were declining on-camera interviews:
“The Azalea Trail Court is made up of the best and brightest young women of Mobile County. Mobile Azalea Trail is honored to be a part of any welcoming event for the city. These young women choose to serve their community in this way and many others, and we will continue to work with city leaders to welcome visitors with the spirit of celebration.” -Mobile Azalea Trail
Mobile, AL (WKRG)
The Azalea Trail Maids were getting criticism from some on social media Saturday. This is a video of the Trail Maids greeting the president-elect at Brookley. What followed were tweets or blog posts saying the outfits were odd or offensive. One blogger said, “the optics are just sickening because it is a throwback to dark American history.”
This may come from people who just don’t know or understand what the Trail Maids are about. They’re meant to embody southern hospitality and charm. These are upstanding high school seniors who serve as ambassadors throughout Mobile County. The young women who are a part of this program have to have a high GPA and complete and an interview process. Some online commentators aren’t comfortable with something they interpret as supportive of oppressive 19th-century culture.
We’ve covered this ground before. You may remember way back in 2009 the then-president of the Alabama NAACP didn’t think the Trail Maids should be part of the inauguration parade for Barack Obama in DC saying “these are the costumes that remind someone of the plantation in Gone with the Wind.”
After a flurry of defense from several people, including Mobile’s first African-American Mayor Sam Jones, Edward Vaughn apologized and of course the Maids were part of the inauguration. The online gossip site TMZ also covered the Trail Maids greeting Trump. The outlet, which is known for its frequently snarky commentary on celebrities had an article that was surprisingly neutral in its tone.