Play depicts Gerald Ford at University of Michigan standing up for African-American teammate


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Students from a range of schools watched a live performance of “Victors of Character” Friday in Grand Rapids in honor of Black History Month.

The play is set in 1934 when President Gerald Ford was a football player at the University of Michigan.

Ford reportedly threatened to quit the team if Willis Ward, the only black player on the team, was benched due to the color of his skin.

The director of the locally-produced show says it’s important for all students to see lessons like the ones in the play, especially in today’s climate.

“There are societal issues and injustices and inequalities that you can use your voice and you can speak out,” said Jason Flannery. “You don’t have to fight it physically.”

The play was written by a Grand Valley State University professor.