When reviewing a recent newsletter from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation we learned quite a bit about the only United States President from Michigan. Sharing this week seemed fitting since yesterday was President’s Day.
A recent newsletter was titled, “Calling all Teachers! Black History Month Resources and Virtual Field Trips!”
For the younger kids, here is the link to the children’s biography, Truth and Honor: The President Ford Story – the biography is read by the Grand Rapids Mayor, Rosalynn Bliss. In addition to the children’s story, you will find information about his biography – the authors, illustrators, behind the scenes and other engaging information.
For the older kids, we learned of the Victors of Character: Historical Storytelling Series, 12-15 minute video series written for older children (junior high/high school students) and simply stated, it shows sports and the sports world, while connecting it to past and current events.
Did you know when Gerald Ford was a young child he had a stutter, and once they stopped forcing him to try to write with his right hand, and instead let him write with his left – his stuttering stopped.
Gerald’s (Jerry’s) step-dad said, “sports teach you how to live…” He went to University of Michigan during the Great Depression. We learned at one point, in 1934, Jerry was going to refuse to play in a football game because his friend – Willis Ward, black teammate and roommate was benched because of the color of his skin.
These are just tad-bits of the information we learned about President Ford’s story. We found the information about Gerald Ford interesting, progressive and he demonstrated leadership ahead of his time.
Since in-person performances of the play, “Victors of Character” have not been possible this year, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum has shared this three-part video series. Students can watch clips of performances and hear various individuals, including former NBA and University of Michigan star Jalen Rose, engage in dialogue around the themes the play addresses. The following links and descriptions are directly from the Gerald R Ford, DeVos Learning Center January newsletter to the Victors of Characters Video Series:
Video One: Historical Storytelling In this discussion, moderated by Shavonne Coleman, Dr. Allison Metz and Buddy Moorehouse talk about the importance of sharing historical stories of social justice through film and stage.
Video Two: What Does Racism Look Like? The grandson of Willis Ward, Mr. Buzz Thomas, discusses the themes of overt and covert racism as seen in the play with actor, Darius Colquitt and moderator, Shavonne Coleman.
Video Three: Playing Field as Platform Former NBA star, Jalen Rose and actor, Gordon Greenhill explore the relationship between race, social justice, and athletics with moderator, Shavonne Coleman.
Program description and all links to the Victors of Character series, here.
For more information about exhibits, events and programs, please visit The Gerald R Ford Presidential Library and Museum website.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude for Clare Shubert who encouraged us to share the newsletter information and the video links with our followers. Clare is the Director of Engagement and Programming at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. Thank you, Clare!