DeVos Learning Center

2016-2017 School Programs
High School Programs

Ford and Willis Ward

Black and Blue – The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game

This three-hour program uses portions of the documentary, Black and Blue: the Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game. Through interviews, letters, and archival photos and video, the documentary tells the long-forgotten story of the 1934 game between The University of Michigan and Georgia Tech, in which the Yellow Jackets agreed to play the Wolverines on one condition- Michigan had to sit out the lone African-American player on the team, a talented athlete from Detroit, Willis Ward. Ward’s teammates were outraged, and none more than his friend and roommate, the future 38th President of the United States, Gerald Ford. Students will explore the effects this experience had on both Ford and Ward, including how it shaped Ford’s perspective and influenced his decisions later in life when he had a voice to enact positive change. The program includes a museum tour and ends with students learning how they, themselves, can enact positive change by learning to identify and contact their elected officials to share a point of view.

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