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Follow Chester!: A College Football Team Fights Racism and Makes History By: Gloria Respress-Churchwell

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Our students know the stories of Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s so nice to have a fresh look at a lesser known hero named Chester Pierce. Chester was the only African American member of the 1947 Harvard University Football Team. Follow Chester is unlike many of the traditional books that portray the color divide between the north and south. His story is unique in that students will immediately notice Chester is encouraged and supported by his white coaches and teammates. They immediately “follow Chester” believing they were in this together- teammates on and off the field.

Teachers said Perfect Mentor Text for:

  • social issue book clubs
  • character study – Chester and Team
  • SEL- social awareness and responsible decision making
  • historical fiction book clubs
  • history – civil rights

Kids said:

In order to make change, you have to be confident

Doesn’t matter people’s race, we all need to work together and make a point!

When Chester had to do something differently, they all followed, showing that they’re a team and they stick together.

Doing nothing isn’t an option if you are trying to make change!

Gloria Respress-Churchwell discusses practical ways to address difficult themes and the importance of  incorporating books that are Windows, Mirrors and Sliding Doors for our students!

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