The Magic City Classic Comes to Birmingham, October 25

The Magic City Classic is an annual American football "classic" between  Alabama A&M University and Alabama State University, two of Alabama's most prominent historically black universities. The game is payed at Legion Field in Birmingham, and some of the festivities held in conjunction with the game include a parade and the "Battle of the Bands" between the two schools' marching bands.

In the early seventies, I had a memorable experience—one of excitement, curiosity and fascination. I was curious as to why my mother dressed me in my finest to sit outside in the frigid temperature, and excited to attend one of the most renowned HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) football games. It was formerly known as the "Classic,” but later the name was changed to the "Magic City Classic.” I was also excited by the number of people gathered at the Classic, or as some labeled it,  “The Fashion Show,” where they dressed in their finest consisting of long fur coats with matching hats, leather suits, and, leather gloves. The half-time featured performing bands and presentation of the homecoming court in beautiful dresses, long gloves, and tiaras. I was not fascinated with the football game itself, but I was fascinated by how family and friends bonded and the camaraderie of attending a HBCU game, even if they didn't attend either school.

Years later, the Magic City Classic has transformed the city: the economy flourishes, RVs arrive a week early to secure a good parking space, vendors abound, stylish cars are everywhere, sky shows are broadcast with radio personalities Tom Joyner and Steve Harvey, tailgating is de rigueur, and T-shirts are high-fashion.

Located in the center of the classic festivities is the Smithfield Library, (formerly the Booker T. Washington Library and the first library for blacks in the state of Alabama), a vital link and iconic landmark located in one of Birmingham’s most historical districts. Because the streets around the library are blocked off for the game, Smithfield library will close at 1:00 pm. on Friday, October 24, and will be closed on Saturday, October 25.

It's time for family, fun, and good food! See you next year!

University Websites

Magic City Classic Schedule of Events

Magic City State-Farm Facebook

Historically Black Colleges and University Resources
I'll Find a Way or Make One: A Tribute to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
History of African American Colleges and Universities

Black Colleges and Football Resources
Breaking the Line: The Season in Black College Football That Transformed the Sport and Changed the Course of Civil Rights 
Integrating the Gridiron: Black Civil Rights and American College Football


Yolanda Hardy
Smithfield Library