In 1974 Tri Robinson and his 7th grade American Literature class went on an unthinkable quest to dig up and rebury a famous mountain man. That man was John Johnston – otherwise known by his legendary name as Liver-eating Johnston, and the inspiration for the Robert Redford movie, Jeremiah Johnson. This is the remarkable story of how, against all odds, twenty-four twelve year old kids succeeded in persuading the U.S. Congress to name their class as Johnston’s official next of kin. With that designation they could move the body of a man that had been buried for seventy-five years in a gravesite near the San Diego Freeway in Los Angeles, California. The journey would entail crossing five state lines to bring Johnston to a final resting place in the Rocky Mountains that he once roamed and loved. The inspiring account reveals the obstacles the students endured along the way such as the legal battle between the states of Wyoming and Montana to obtain the rights to Johnston’s remains. It also highlights some of the unlikely support provided from people like Robert Redford and Roy Neil (a news correspondent for NBC), who both became advocates to the students’ cause.
“The Committee for the Reburial of Liver-eating Johnston” is an amazing true tale that is humorous, inspiring and nothing short of miraculous. It is the full, behind-the-scenes story of a chapter that was included in the book, Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. It is a testimony to the power of creative and innovative education. This is a book every aspiring teacher should read before entering the classroom as it speaks of overcoming learning disabilities, working with the gifted, and the impact of a teacher’s empowering words.
“Teaching might be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.” John Steinbeck