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Armstrong/Walker Classic makes its return to Richmond

Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 7:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 27, 2021 at 7:18 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - It’s a spectacle that some say they’ve only heard stories about from their parents but on Saturday morning thousands were out on Leigh St. in Richmond, ready to be a part of the Armstrong/Walker Classic legacy.

After being gone for more than 40 years, the rivalry game that brought the community together after Thanksgiving Day has made its return.

For the first time, a parade of hundreds marched toward Virginia Union University, bringing back a familiar tradition for students of Maggie L. Walker and Armstrong High Schools.

“You know people would come from overseas just to make it to that event,” Steve Lewis, an alumnus of Walker said. “If they were in the service of on the West Coast they’d come back for that event.”

A lot of those alumni were still making a similar commute this weekend with graduates from both schools as far back as 1962 standing on the sides of the streets.

It was a senior year celebration for some like Jacqueline McMullen who graduated from Armstrong in 1980. She says growing up she would go to the classic all the time but was disappointed when she found out it was not coming back for her last year.

“No I did not and we’ve been looking forward to this for years, just to see old classmates be out again in the cold like we use to do it, it had to be cold to be Armstrong/Walker,” McMullen said.

For others, it was a time to finally understand what their parents had been talking about for years.

Jamita Taylor graduated in the 90′s but would always hear from her mother how special the event was for the black community.

“She was excited to come out here she hasn’t been out here in a while and having her children out here who both went to Armstrong is amazing for her,” Taylor said.

With an old-school tailgate and a pee wee football game to end Saturday’s event, some alumni say what once happened will never fully be able to return but the message of unity against rivals will live on.

“This is the beginning is what it is and I hope next year it will be even better,” Lewis said.

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