The inspiring lesson of an empty chair.
In New York City in 1956, Daniel Gill, 9 and his friend Archie arrived at a party to celebrate the birthday of their friend. Archie was black, and Daniel is white.
"The woman who was the mother opened the door and said that I could go in but that Archie couldn't because there were no more chairs," Daniel told CBS.
Archie's school photo from the 1950's Photo: cbsnews.com
Daniel offered to sit on the floor, but the mother repeated there were no more chairs. Finally, the boys realized the real problem was Archie's skin color, and in tears, they left together.
It turned out to be a life-changing moment.
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Now 75-years of age, Daniel later became a social studies teacher at Glenfield Middle School in New Jersey, where he has taught for 52-years.
Starting in the 1980's, as a lesson during a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day remembrance, he began sharing his story with his students.
Seeing the powerful impact on them, he made the empty chair a classroom fixture as a symbol of what had happened, and at times still happens.
Over the years, he has reached thousands of students. But Daniel plans to retire soon, and would like this lesson to continue.
Recently, he told his story at the Montclair Literary Festival, hoping to create a children's book titled, "No More Chairs." A publisher has expressed an interest.
Wanting his long-ago friend Archie to help write it, he contacted his family only to learn Archie had passed away in 2021. But he is hopeful Archie's daughter will participate.
So, what is the lesson:
The empty chair helps us to remember that we should each open our hearts to make everyone welcome.
To learn more cbsnews.com and nicenews.com/
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