The Emmy-nominated documentary "Black and Blue: The Story of Gerald Ford, Willis Ward and the 1934 Michigan-Georgia Tech Football Game" will be shown at 7 p.m. Thursday at Howell High School's auditorium. The viewing is free and open to the public. The film was produced by Brian Kruger and Buddy Moorehouse.
The documentary tells the story of Willis Ward, a talented University of Michigan football player who was benched in 1934 for a game between Michigan and Georgia Tech because he was black. Future President Gerald Ford was a teammate and close friend of Ward, and he originally planned to quit the team due to his friend's benching.
"It was very moving," said Kathleen Zaenger, director of the Howell Carnegie District Library. Zaenger played a key role in bringing the film to Howell. She said local libraries had just launched the Building Community Through Civility and Compassion program, which is aimed at engaging the public in discussing the importance of community, civility and compassion in their daily lives. Zaenger said the film seemed to fit the goals of the new program.
Although it's unlikely such an incident would happen today, Zaenger said race and other issues raised in the film are still relevant. She said the film highlights the importance of how we get along with one another and how we conduct ourselves around one another. The viewing of "Black and Blue" is sponsored by First National Bank, the Livingston Diversity Council, Bob Maxey Ford and Howell Public Schools.
In other words, the public needs to make an effort to come and view this landmark story.