Georgia Tech

Gerald Ford stood up for teammate against Georgia Tech

Not sure how I missed this last Friday, but here's a story from The Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, Mich.) about former President Gerald Ford, who stood up against Georgia Tech's Jim Crow leanings when he played at Michigan in 1934.

U.S. President Gerald Ford, a former standout at Michigan, threatened to quit the football team when the Wolverines coaching staff told a black player that he would be benched when Georgia Tech came to Ann Arbor. The Yellow Jackets, in keeping with the segregationist times of 1934 did not want to play a black athlete. Tech's first black athlete didn't arrive until 1969. By 1970, Eddie McAshan was the South's first black starting quarterback at a major football institution. Photo Credit: prideofdetroit.com 

I don't want to take away from this really excellent story, so I'll let you read it for the details. But to set it up, Tech and Michigan were set to meet in Ann Arbor, Mich. the fall of 1934, when the Yellow Jackets refused to make the trip. The reason? The Wolverines had Willis Ward, a black player, on their team. He was good enough to start. But because of Tech's rebuffing, the Wolverines threatened to bench Ward for that game. Well, in turn, President Ford threatened to quit the team.

Again, really interesting read that you can find here. Thank God the days are long behind us where Tech, or any school for that matter, feels threatened by an opponent because of the color of a player's skin.

Enjoy the read.

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