United in Rivalry: Richmond’s Armstrong-Maggie Walker Classic
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Around Richmond, it’s simply known as “The Classic.” From 1938 to 1979, Armstrong High and Maggie Walker High, the only two all-black high schools within the city limits, converged on the gridiron each Thanksgiving weekend as spirited rivals. Each year more and more people packed the old City Stadium, sometimes as many as thirty thousand, sometimes too many to count. They cheered as the players fought for field position, pride, and bragging rights, and when the game was over, they fought for equality in the face of segregation, prejudice, and Jim Crow justice. Enjoy a view from the press box as Richmond sports historian Michael Whitt offers a summary of every Armstrong-Maggie Walker Classic and the often volatile social and political context in which they were played. The two schools may have produced one of Virginia’s greatest prep rivalries, but they also helped shape its greatest achievement in unity.
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