Black Boy’s White Mom Refuses To Host, His White Friend Decided to Keep a Chair Empty for 50 Years

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Sometimes, humans can be cruel. But sometimes that cruelty can lead to greatness. This is what happened to this white boy, who was raped as a child and was determined to make a positive difference. 

Dan Gill, a teacher at Glenfield Middle School, Montclair, New Jersey is unique because of many things. One of those, perhaps the most important, can be seen as soon as anyone enters his class.

It has been there for many decades and is still empty. The unique thing about this seat is that it’s not an extra or time-out chair. It’s also not meant to be used by administrators as an inspector of his work as teachers.

Photo of Dan Gill | Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

It is a reminder that Gill should use it as a tool to help his students. He explained what the symbolism of it means to him. Submitted TODAY Parents, “Each year, I teach lessons around Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday about the Civil Rights movement. I wanted to connect the students in a personal way to what that meant.”

The chair achieves that perfect result, and Gill’s childhood experience influenced the design of the chair.


When Gill was a nine-year-old boy, he and his best buddy Archie, who happened to be black, decided to attend a birthday party in Gill’s New York City apartment building. 

They took their gifts with them and made their way to the venue. Once they arrived, they rang the bell, eagerly anticipating the fun they would have with their friends. They didn’t realize how much fun was to be had on that day. 

David Henry Sterry was the organizer of this competition. He said that he opened his mouth at the depth and pitch when he heard it. 

Image of Dan Gill during an intro | Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

Archie was greeted by the mother of her birthday child, who immediately looked at him and said that they were out of chairs. A confused Gill offered to sit on the floor or get more chairs, but the lady shook her head and repeated her statement — there were no more chairs. 

Gill realized that Archie was not welcome at the party due to his skin color. After a while, the two boys parted with tears running down their faces. Gill was deeply traumatized by the incident, which he carried with him for over 50 years. 

Picture of Dan Gill in the library| Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

Gill said that “Archie was denied the opportunity to go to the birthday party because of a bias the woman had.”He didn’t realize it was the right time but that moment shaped his life and led him to follow the steps that made his name popular at school and across the country. 


Image of Gill’s chair – Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork| Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

Gill, as he grew older, became a teacher. He moved to Montclair where he transformed Glenfield Middle School into a magnet school of the arts. Thanks to his actions, the establishment grew to become a model for other schools’ desegregation. 

The empty chair that he leaves in the middle of his class is there because he knows children love symbols. He would explain to them why the chair was there, so they could remember that they can always do better academically, socially, and emotionally.

Image of Gill’s chair – Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork| Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

Gill created the chair as a reminder to his students about their responsibility to make all people feel welcome, no matter where they are from or their skin color. Gill has seen his message resonate for decades. 

He shared with TODAY that children used to ask newcomers why they had the chair in their classrooms when they were there. Gill is 75 years old and plans to retire as a teacher after 2022/2023, but he will not stop sharing his knowledge or spreading the message about the empty chairs.


Picture of “Pitchapalooza” Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork| Source: Youtube/CBSNewYork

Gill has recently suggested the idea for a book that he would like to publish in order to spread the message. “No More Chairs”The book pitch competition, also known as the “Pitchapalooza.”David Henry Sterry, who organized the competition,  that when he heard the pitch, his mouth dropped open at the profoundness. 

He said that it will be dedicated Archie, who died last year. Gill and Archie lost touch decades ago. However, Gill was able to connect with his daughter via social media. He hopes that their story can be told through Gill’s eyes. 

Source: Youtube/| Source: Youtube/

His dream is that the book will inspire teachers to do the same thing he has done for more than five decades — keep an empty chair in their respective classrooms so people will continue to remember the message he has spent most of his life preaching. He :

“In my wildest dreams. I hope it imparts to kids how they can be better and how they can treat people better. I hope they will be decision-makers in their own class.”

Gill’s story is a stark reminder of how important a teacher’s role is in the education system. He has proven that friendship does not have to be based on skin color. 

A similar situation was observed back in 2017 when a 4-year-old boy named Jax from Kentucky asked his mom to shave off his hair to match his black friend’s so their teacher would not be able to tell them apart. 

According to the boy’s mother, he does not Notification that his friend has a different skin color, so he innocently believes that his long hair is the only thing differentiating them. It was evidence that hate and prejudice are not inherent in humans. 

After the news went viral, she received many messages from friends on Facebook who were stunned by Jax’s innocence, so she took the boys to a salon where he had his hair cut to match his friends’, making him very happy. 


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