Fans celebrate HBCU history as Chicago Football Classic returns to Soldier Field

CHICAGO — Love was in the air at Soldier Field on Saturday as fans gathered for a Labor Day weekend tradition that goes back decades.

“We joined the same fraternity at Central State, Kappa Alpha Phi Fraternity Inc.,” Nick Frazier, a Central State University alumnus, said.

Chicago Football Classic makes its return this weekend

Nick Frazier, from the Beverly neighborhood, and Tommy Davidson II, from a southern suburb, didn’t meet until they got to Central State University. Like many other fans, they were ready to celebrate their love of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their love for all the history and culture that goes with it.

“This is what it’s all about — tailgating, fraternizing, just staying connected,” Davidson said.

Central State University and Mississippi Valley State University hit the field to face off in the Chicago Football Classic, a contest that returned for the first time since 2019.

“I’m so excited, having gone to a Historically Black College University,” said Phoenix Tyler. “You learn about your history and you come back and give back.”

Over $250,000 in scholarships were given out to HBCU students from around Chicagoland as part of the annual event, which started back in 1997 to bring more exposure to HBCUs in the city.

Central State beat Mississippi Valley State 24-21 in this year’s edition of the Chicago Football Classic.


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