THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE IS FROM THE RICHMOND FREE PRESS
Photo courtesy of Dennis H. Harvey
A fresh attempt is being made to revive the biggest sporting event in Richmond — the Armstrong-Walker Classic.
City Hall is now backing a coalition of alumni from the city’s two former Black high schools, Armstrong and Maggie L. Walker, who are leading the charge to stage an event honoring and commemorating the storied Thanksgiving weekend football clash between the friendly rivals.
The hugely popular game drew 25,000 to 35,000 people to City Stadium and was held annually between 1939 and 1978 before Richmond Public Schools reorganized the city high schools, putting an end to the game.
This photo gives evidence of the huge crowds that packed the City Stadium during the heyday of the big contest between the two city high schools. Antique cars parade in front of the stands during pre-game festivities in this scene.
Just as in the past, the new Armstrong-Walker Classic will be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving – this year on Saturday, Nov. 27. It also will feature a parade on Leigh Street, a youth football game and a tailgate party on the Virginia Union University campus.
Mayor Levar M. Stoney used the backdrop of the Black History Museum & Cultural Center in Jackson Ward to announce on Wednesday the effort “to bring back one of the great community traditions.”
He said the Armstrong-Walker Classic was “a cherished annual event that allowed the Black community to come together, share and celebrate education, self-determination, excellence ... It was an opportunity to show up and show out.”
Mayor Stoney said the importance of the game “was undervalued at the time by the powers that be. That was then, this is now.”
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