Nearly three years ago to the day I submitted a mgoblog guest post talking about the 100-year Michigan football anniversary event held in 1979.  Former player Willis Ward attended the celebration held at Chrysler errr, Crisler Arena.  I mentioned this:

Willis Ward:  The African-American end and U-M track star was Gerald Ford’s roommate for road games and a member of the ’32 and ’33 national championship squads.  This man’s story deserves a full documentary or movie, not a blurb on a blog post, and it’s safe to assume he gave some interesting remarks to the banquet crowd.

A hat tip to my boys at UGP/Moe’s and MGoShoe for simultaneously sending over this link.  Pete Bigelow at AnnArbor.com writes that a local group is putting together a 10 part series covering Michigan football.   It’ll debut with this:

The series will debut with an episode on the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech game, in which the Yellow Jackets threatened to pull out of the game if Michigan played Willis Ward, the school’s second black player.

Ward’s teammate, future President Gerald Ford, contemplated quitting the team in protest of Ward’s exclusion.

Here’s a trailer from the group producing the films, Stunt3 Multimedia:

When can we expect this to come out?  According to senior creative director Buddy Moorehouse:

..the first film in the series ("Black and Blue: The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Game") will premiere in May or June in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids (in a couple theaters, not on TV).

If you don’t know the Ward/1934 Georgia Tech game story I suggest you start here

Related:
The Willis Ward Protests
Harry Kipke and the Fall of 1934

5 Comments

  1. I'm sorry, but to call Gerald Ford's stand "courageous" because he objected to playing the game (but still played) is disingenuous. I love Gerald Ford. But let's not belittle his truly courageous acts with this one which was stellar, captivating, leader-like, etc., but not courageous.

    • But he only played after Ward asked him to. It's not like he publicly said he'd sit it out and privately was preparing to go.

  2. This episode provides a real fascinating look at race relations in the 30s and the turmoil Jim Crow caused throughout the country – affecting African Americans wherever they lived. I'm still intrigued about the possibility of additional documentation coming to light about Arthur Miller's role in the student protest of the University's decision. I doubt this documentary will uncover it, but that aspect adds another layer to the story.

    Here's hoping that the producers and Greg are able to establish a role for him in this documentary since he's got so much of the material at his finger tips and can speak as authoritatively about the story as anyone.

  3. A ‘courageous stand’? Didn’t we capitulate and play with out Ward?

  4. not on tv????? what a rip-off!!!!!