MPW.65 / Trenton Black is Just a Shade by Sam Gause
Photographer
Sam Gause Jackson, Michigan
Team Lee

Story Summary

Terrin Ellis is a good kid. He goes to school, lives a rich family life, and plays football. As one of three black students at Trenton High School he has been the odd man out in the past, but he does not let that surface level discrimination faze him.

“It is just a color. You put your football uniform on and you are just another big guy in a big suit. You go to school you are just another idiot sitting there trying to learn something," Ellis said. "It’s not really a problem anymore."

In Trenton, Ellis and his sister Sydney are the severe minority. According to the 2010 census, only .8 percent of Trenton’s 6001 people are African American.

Race has been a problem in the past. Ellis used to be an outcast in elementary and middle schools, but with high school he came out of his shell and his classmates started to take an interest in being friends with him.

“There were some rough times when he was young, but the town has grown up with him,” said Ellis’s mother Susan Ellis.

Ellis still feels dissimilar to those around him, but due to a positive up bringing and supportive friends, confidence replaced meekness.

“When you are different, you are usually outcast, but when you have friends and people that support you, you don’t even realize you are different,” said Ellis.