Willis Ward | Michigan Radio
WUOMFM

Willis Ward

Courtesy of Rentschler's Studio photograph collection, Bentley Image Bank, Bentley Historical Library

Back in 1934, the University of Michigan and Georgia Tech football teams met in a game at Michigan Stadium. Ahead of the event, Georgia Tech made a demand of the U of M athletic director, legendary football coach Fielding Yost: bench Michigan’s Black football player, Willis Ward, or Georgia Tech would refuse to compete. Yost agreed to the racist request and barred Ward from playing and from the stadium that day.