Mr. Bishop (GA) – Mr. Speaker, I rise today to salute a classic gridiron rivalry– the “Matchless Classic of All Historically Black College Football Classics”– the 77th Annual Tuskegee–Morehouse Football Classic. This year, the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers will come face-to-face with the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers on the green grass of A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Georgia on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 2:00 p.m.
A rivalry that began in 1902 with the teams playing each other seventy-six times in over 100 years, the Tuskegee–Morehouse Football Classic has the distinction of being one of the longest running NCAA Division II classics in the nation. It first began as an entertainment event for the African-American civilian community and African-American U.S. Army soldiers in the Columbus-Fort Benning, GA and Phenix City, AL area. Today, its primary purpose is to help raise funds for scholarships to help young men and women attend college.
In 1955, Mr. Gordon H. Kitchen, Mr. A.J. McClung, and Mr. Carl Haygood formed the Classic Committee. The Committee continues to operate the Classic and has preserved the mission of its legendary founders and past leadership. This year, the Committee will welcome Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, Jr., the Tenth President of Morehouse College; Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon, the Sixth President of Tuskegee University; and Dr. Beverly Tatum, the Ninth President of Spelman College to the Classic.
This year will also mark the eighth year the Tuskegee–Morehouse Football Classic will be played in the A. J. McClung Memorial Stadium, which was named for the late Honorable A. J. McClung, a 1933 graduate of Tuskegee University, Chairman Emeritus of the Tuskegee-Morehouse Football Classic and 29-year member of the Columbus Council who served as acting Mayor of Columbus in 1973.
A longstanding tradition, the weeks leading up to the Classic are filled with excitement and anticipation. The Tuskegee–Morehouse Classic Parade is a widely attended fanfare. There is a week-long schedule of events including church services, recruitment activities, a media press conference, a golf tournament, President/Queens Brunch, VIP Reception and spirited tailgating.
Throughout the years, the two teams have taken the field to play with the highest quality and standards of college football. The players and coaches train and work tirelessly to ensure a memorable classic, and the marching bands, the Piperettes, Mahogany in Motion, cheerleaders, flag teams and other auxiliary units put on spectacular shows while the fans and observers cheer loudly and proudly for their teams.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues join me in saluting the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee University as they come face-to-face with the Maroon Tigers of Morehouse College. Naturally, I will be cheering for my beloved Alma Mater, Morehouse College. Despite the outcome, however, the 77th Annual Tuskegee–Morehouse Football Classic is sure to be a memorable affair overflowing with spirit, pride, and tradition.