Cardigan Mountain School A boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 9
Cardigan Boys of Color Define Their Own Path


Members of the Cardigan Boys of Color with Dr. Keith Hinderlie, former director of equity and inclusion at Choate Rosemary Hall. Dr. Hinderlie has presented workshops across the country on diversity, inclusion, multicultural competence, and the social/emotional experiences of children and was on campus to help Cardigan with a diversity, equity, and inclusion climate assessment, part of phase 1 of Cardigan Mountain School’s Strategic Plan for 2032.

Cardigan Boys of Color Define Their Own Path

“Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start the new trail, equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you.” Ruby Bridges, American Civil Rights Activist

As an opening to Black History Month in February, the Cardigan Boys of Color (CBOC) spoke in Chapel, sharing their knowledge and genuine desire to educate the community. With no defined path before them, these boys are leading, as Ruby Bridges suggests, with courage, strength, and conviction.


Blake Hodges ’22 and Grady Allison ’22 began the Chapel service by debunking myths about Martin Luther King, Jr. based on an episode from First Name Basis, a podcast by Jasmine Bradshaw. Take for example the myth that MLK would have been against riots. Blake and Grady explained that Dr. King believed riots were the language of the unheard. While many at the time claimed that riots proved that black people hated white people, Dr. King saw it differently:

“This bloodlust interpretation ignores one of the most striking features of the city riots. Violent they certainly were. But the violence, to a startling degree, was focused against property rather than against people. There were very few cases of injury to persons, and the vast majority of the rioters were not involved at all in attacking people…Why were they so violent with property then? Because property represents the white power structure, which they were attacking and trying to destroy.” 

“We wanted to present information that hasn’t been widely shared before,” says Carter Davis ’22, who along with Dom Taylor ’22, shared the story of Ruby Bridges during the chapel service. “There’s more than just MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.”

“It’s been great to share what I think and hear what my peers think. I’m proud to be part of the discussions and feel like they have the power to change perspectives. Preston Merrick ’22

“We wanted to show how much the world has changed, but also how long it’s taken,” added Student Leader Preston Merrick ’22, who chose to talk about Nicholas Johnson, Princeton University’s first Black valedictorian in 2020. “I also chose Johnson because I wanted to speak about someone who shot for the stars and succeeded,” continued Preston.

For these boys, seeking understanding about race and racism and sharing what they have learned with their peers wasn’t limited to one chapel service. As members of CBOC, a group founded in 2021 by Gabe Quinn ’21, the boys met regularly this past year to engage in conversations and seek the support of their peers. Prior to each meeting, Dom Taylor, who was this year’s CBOC student leader, chose a topic and sent out readings and links for the boys to explore. While the winter schedule made it more difficult for them to meet, during the fall and spring, the group gathered weekly after dinner to discuss current and historical events––from the impact of the Confederate flag to slavery and the justice system. In 2021, they even had the opportunity to speak with Ruby Bridges during a virtual meeting. 

“Before that meeting, I didn’t really even know who she was,” says Dom. “Ever since, I think about her and remember she is the reason why I’m here. At the time, she didn’t know the impact she would have; she must have had so much determination to go to school without any friends. Her independence is really powerful and inspiring.”

“Some of the topics we talk about are really hard but we can’t ignore them. CBOC has allowed me to connect with students of color, hear what they’ve gone through, and build friendships with them.” Treva Murphy ’22

It is worth noting that the boys in CBOC have chosen to make their group all-inclusive, inviting anyone in the community to join in their conversation. “It’s been great to share what I think and hear what my peers think,” says Preston. “I’m proud to be part of the discussions and feel like they have the power to change perspectives.”

Treva Murphy ’22, who is white and also a member of CBOC, agrees. “Some of the topics we talk about are really hard but we can’t ignore them,” he says. “CBOC has allowed me to connect with students of color, hear what they’ve gone through, and build friendships with them.”

What’s next for the group? Unanimously, the boys hope to grow. They want everyone on campus to be involved in CBOC; they are excited to share their knowledge and listen to the perspectives of their peers. Their optimism is contagious, and if they can hold onto it as they prepare for their journeys beyond Cardigan, they are just the sorts of leaders this divided world needs.

Fall 2022 Feature: Habits of Learning for all Cardigan Students

Early morning view of Cardigan's campus

FROM THE EDITOR: When I look back over the many months it takes to produce an issue of the Chronicle, and I think about the countless conversations I have with the people in this community, there are always details that overlap unexpectedly, adding surprising nuances and subtleties to the stories within each magazine; history repeats itself, characters long forgotten resurface, faces in archival photographs look eerily similar to faces in the present.

Read More about Courage in Unexpected Places

More From the Fall 2022 Issue

Explore More Issues of the Chronicle

No post to display.