SALISBURY, NC – One hundred and twenty-five years ago, Livingstone College awaited the arrival of Johnson C. Smith University (then Biddle Memorial Institute), who traveled by horse and buggy to Salisbury to play football.The contest held on a snowy December 27, 1892, on the front lawn of Livingstone College, was the first black intercollegiate football game.

In 2009, the two schools decided to start an annual Commemorative Classic football game to honor the inaugural matchup. The classic is the last football game of the regular season with location now alternating between the two campuses.

“How fitting that on this 125th anniversary, the game will be played where it all started – on the campus of Livingstone College,” said Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., Livingstone College president.

The original Livingstone team was formally organized in the fall of 1892 and included J.W. Walker (captain); W.J. Trent (manager), who later became the longest-serving president of Livingstone to date; R.J. Rencher; Henry Rives; C.N. Garland; J.R. Dillard; J.B.A. Yelverton; Wade Hampton; Charles H. Patrick; J.J. Taylor; and F.H. Cummings.

According to the college newspaper’s 1930 edition, team members purchased a regulations football and uniforms, and the players equipped their street shoes with cleats, taking them off after practice. The young women of the school’s industrial department made the players’ uniform.

The teams played two 45-minute halves with Trent scoring Livingstone’s only touchdown on a fumble recovery. Biddle argued that the fumble was recovered out of bounds as the snow had covered the field’s markings. The official ruled in Biddle’s favor, allowing them to keep the 5-0 lead and giving them the victory.

“We’re always optimistic about the game,” said Coach Andre Springs, Livingstone’s Athletic Director. “But this is more than a game. The Commemorative Classic pays homage to those original teams that started a tradition of black college football in this country that has made a positive difference and blazed a mighty trail for student athletes.”

This year, Livingstone College and Johnson C. Smith University celebrate 125th anniversary with a host of events following the Commemorative Classic football game that was played on November 4 at Livingstone College.

JCSU took the victory over Livingstone 27-14.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, January 13, 2017, five (5) historically black colleges and universities were honored as an White House healthy campus by President Barack Obama. As part of Obama’s Administration’s ongoing efforts to reach the remaining uninsured, the White House launched the Healthy Campus Challenge in September, hoping to engage college and university campuses in enrollment efforts.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act 20, 20 million more Americans have gained coverage, and the nation’s uninsured rate now stands at its lowest level ever. Access to affordable, quality health care is critically important for young people as they reach adulthood and enter the job market. It gives them peace of mind that allows them to focus on their studies, helps them stay healthy as they join the workforce, and is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.

More than 350 campuses from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico participated in the Challenge and carried out some enrollment activities, with nearly 100 campuses completing all the criteria. Out of that 100 campuses, 5 HBCU campuses made the list.

  • Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL)
  • Bowie State University (Bowie, MD)
  • Florida Memorial University (Miami Gardens, FL)
  • Livingstone College (Salisbury, NC)
  • Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, LA)

This past Friday (Jan. 13), nearly 60 leaders of those campuses attended the Healthy Campus Challenge Day at the White House, which was presided by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Congratulations to the following HBCU campuses who were designated as an White House Healthy Campus and we hope that your success continues in remaining to keeping HBCU students healthy and insured for the future years to come!

To read the full White House Healthy Campus Challenge Day press release, click here.