From UK school to US politics
Gloucester Citizen, Monday, June 20, 2011
By Jo Barber,

A former pupil who went all the way to the White House was back from America to visit his old school in Gloucester. David George Ball attended Sir Thomas Rich’s in the 1940s before he emigrated across the pond, when aged only 17, But he returned to meet modern day head teacher Ian Kellie and to present him
Visit: Headteacher Ian Kellie, David George Ball and Canon John Evans, who was at school with Mr Ball.
with a copy of his memoir. The autobiography by Mr Ball, called A Marked Heart, tells how his life was changed for ever when he met the, then, relatively unknown Martin Luther King Junior. Mr Ball, 74, who visited Sir Thomas Rich ’s with his wife and friends from Gloucestershire, was inspired by the civil rights leader and eventually in 1989 was nominated as Assistant Secretary of Labor by President George H W Bush.

The party also toured Sir Thomas Rich’s which had been based in the city centre when Mr Ball was a pupil there. “When I went to school it was located in a very old town house ... it was somewhat run down,” Mr Ball said. “It is (now) a different site, built on the fields where we used to play
Mr Ball’s book
rugby when I was at school.” Mr Ball, who returned to America on Friday, said: “I was absolutely shocked at the change in the school. When I attended I actually was the last class to come to Sir Thomas Rich’s as a private school. With the 1944 Education Act, the state took over.”

Mr Ball said Sir Thomas Rich ’s , in Oakleaze, had only 200 boys in his day. It now has more than 800. “I was told virtually every one of these 800 will go on to university ... when I was there relatively few, about three per cent, went on.” Mr Ball, whose home in retirement is in Virginia, was the son of a missionary and Baptist minister. He went to America to take the pastor’s course at Chicago’s Moody Bible Institute, attended Yale, and there invited King to speak at that university about his leadership of a boycott of segregated buses. The meeting changed Mr Ball’s life forever. He became a lawyer, went into public service, and eventually become Bush’s Labour assistant.