In 1914, a Philadelphia department store tycoon and well known philanthropist selected three Indian boys from boarding schools across the United States to attend a prestigious Pennsylvania prep school.
This is a story that has been lying dormant for decades, but must now be passed down to future generations as an example to young people of all races that determination and strong character will bring you through the toughest of times. This story serves as a reminder that all can achieve and overcome the prejudices and discrimination many of our ancestors endured and that many people still face today. Most of all, this story serves as living proof that people of minority races can find their place in a troubled world and be vital contributors to a society that has not always embraced them.
In the following pages you will discover how a young Choctaw Indian boy from Oklahoma was thrown into a setting of highly intelligent Ivy League prepsters from wealthy families. You will relive both the physical and emotional struggles this young man endured and how the challenges he encountered were especially difficult in a world so foreign to a young Indian. This story will lead you through the insecurities, discrimination, winning of acceptance, stripping of honor, infliction of shame and perseverance eventually leading to triumph.
Most resources for the project came from family records and recollections of stories told by parents and grandparents. In letters and other assorted documents hidden away in an aging school file folder, much of this story was also found. From the pages of a deteriorating and water-stained 1917 yearbook many of the gaps were filled in. Turning through pages that almost fell apart in hand, the thoughts, ideals and dreams of a young World War I era generation was captured. Gazing into the faces and eyes of the students pictured throughout the book, we saw, not individuals who had lived their lives and who now belong to the ages, but young men with interests, talents and dreams for a life that lie ahead. From tattered and worn pages, we felt the laughter and joy as well as tears and frustrations come to life.
This is a story that must not be lost again with passing of generations. It is not just another Indian story, but one of a courageous and bright young man who just happened to be an Indian.