Archive for 'Jackie Robinson'

Kenny Washington and the Pro Football Hall of Fame

In my review of the “Forgotten Four” documentary, one of the few things I credited the documentary for was that it, surprisingly, didn’t dwell on Kenny Washington’s weak credentials for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Folks who follow this site know how hard I’ve been campaigning to get Duke Slater (an early African-American pioneer who absolutely had a Hall of Fame career and who has been shockingly and disgracefully overlooked) into the Hall of Fame. So I think some people might expect that I’d be a big supporter of Kenny Washington for the Pro Football Hall of Fame as…

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The EPIX network recently released a documentary entitled “Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football.” This documentary detailed how Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Bill Willis, and Marion Motley re-integrated pro football in 1946 after a 12-year NFL ban on African-American players. The documentary is, as I expected, a colossal disappointment on so many levels. I guess that means I’m in overall agreement with Variety, which called the documentary “unexpectedly forgettable” and described it as follows: “It’s such a stiff, by-the-numbers approach that ‘Forgotten Four’ provides little insight, feeling like the Hallmark Cards version of an HBO or ESPN ‘30 for…

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African-Americans in Pro Football, 1897-1946

Duke Slater was a pioneer for African-Americans in pro football, but he wasn’t alone.  A handful of black athletes competed in pro football before World War II, and today, we take a look back at some of their groundbreaking achievements. African-Americans in Pro Football – Pre-NFL, 1897-1919 The National Football League was founded in 1920, but before that, several professional football teams were formed.  Without the benefit of an organized league, these teams nevertheless found competition with other nearby squads, and many played very respectable schedules. I mentioned in my profile on Frank Holbrook that he played in a semi-pro…

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