“It’s a story I’m proud to tell. It’s something everyone needs to hear and can learn from.”
— Director Brian Kruger about his documentary film "Black and Blue"
Colorado Northwestern Community College’s student activity council hosted Director Brian Kruger during a showing of his film, “Black and Blue,” Tuesday night at the Moffat County High School Auditorium.
Coinciding with Black History Month, Kruger’s documentary centers on the friendship during the 1930s between former president Gerald Ford and Willis Ward, an early pioneer for African Americans in collegiate sports.
The two played together on the University of Michigan football team and the documentary focuses on one particular game that occurred during Ford and Ward’s senior year.
Playing Georgia Tech, Jim Crow laws forced Michigan to either bench Ward or cancel the game. After a national debate ensued, Michigan Athletic Director Fielding Yost benched Ward for the game, even going so far as to ban Ward from the stadium.
The remainder of their senior season was the worst in the university’s history and many attributed it to the demoralization the team experienced after Ward was benched.
Ford and Ward went on to share a lifelong friendship and excel in both the political and business worlds.
Kruger said he felt making the documentary and sharing it with others, especially high school students and sports teams, was important to him because of the amazing and simple show of character it displayed.
“It’s a story I’m proud to tell,” Kruger said. “It’s something everyone needs to hear and can learn from.”
MCHS sophomore Sarah Dippeo said she was already up at the high school that evening when she and some friends decided to stay for the film and presentation.
“It was pretty interesting,” Dippeo said. “I just wasn’t intrigued.”
Dippeo’s friend, junior Faith Christiansen, agreed saying although she wasn’t quite into it she was glad Kruger was so enthusiastic about the story.
The energetic Kruger shared stories and answered questions with the crowd of about 30 after the film and included some other facts he had discovered while making the film.
Kruger said he believed the experience Ford had with Ward helped shape many of his policies as president.
As part of his presentation, Kruger asked the audience if they knew which president established black history month.
“Anyone?” Kruger asked.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org