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How this traditioned Richmond rivalry is sharing important history

Posted at 7:19 PM, Nov 25, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. -- It's the local football rivalry that always has Richmonders talking this time of year. Thanksgiving week is synonymous with the noted Armstrong-Walker football classic.

The game, which has been played for the past 40 years, typically pulls in tens of thousands of alumni and spectators.

"After the game, we would have parties together. We are still friends 40 years later between the two schools and it's just the pride that it brought to the city of Richmond and not just to the Black community but to the city. It brought a lot of people into town that otherwise wouldn't have come," Greta Randolph said.

Randolph now leads the Armstrong-Walker Football Classic Legacy Project, an initiative highlighted in a powerful exhibit at the Black History Museum on Leigh Street.

"Teaching about the history of the classic and the pride that came with it and the history of the two schools. That is running from November 2 to December 2 at the Black History Museum. We are bringing in kids from each of those two schools to teach them about the history of their two schools and the classic. It's important because it's a part of our history, it's a part of Black history and Richmond history," Randolph said.

Randolph said that the weekend's festivities this year will have a bit of a twist.

"It's a parade. It's tailgating afterward, that's on November 26. Parade starts at 10. It'll run from MLK Middle School to Armstrong High School and there will be the game with the little league team dressed as Armstrong and the other one as Walker," Randolph said.

Win, lose or draw, organizers said it isn't just about a football game. Instead, it's about preserving, educating and advancing the history of this classic event and how it has enriched the Black community and the City of Richmond. When the clock runs out, the classic rivalry turned lasting relationship between Armstrong and Maggie Walker will always remain.

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