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Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football

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Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football is a 2014 documentary film that details the story of the four African-American players who broke the color barrier in professional football. Narrated by actor Jeffrey Wright, the film is an illuminating look at a pivotal moment in American sports history.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, professional football was strictly segregated. The NFL had never allowed African-American players, and the handful of African-American players in the rival All-America Football Conference faced discrimination and difficulty playing. But in 1946, just after the end of World War II, four African-American players signed with NFL teams: Kenny Washington and Woody Strode with the Los Angeles Rams, Marion Motley with the Cleveland Browns, and Bill Willis with the same team.

These players were trailblazers, facing enormous obstacles in their quest to play professional football. Some of the biggest NFL owners, including George Halas of the Chicago Bears and George Preston Marshall of the Washington Redskins, were staunch segregationists who vehemently opposed integration. Other owners were more open-minded but hesitant to take on such a controversial issue.

Forgotten Four tells the story of these four players in vivid detail, exploring their personal stories, their struggles and triumphs, and the cultural context of the time. The film also features interviews with surviving family members, historians, and NFL legends who played with or against these pioneering players.

One of the most powerful sequences in the film features interviews with the players themselves, recorded before their passing. They speak candidly about the discrimination they faced and the sacrifices they made to achieve their dreams. Their stories are moving and inspiring, and serve as a reminder of the bravery and determination of those who fought for civil rights in every aspect of American life.

Another fascinating aspect of the film is its exploration of the media coverage surrounding the integration of professional football. The all-white sports media of the time struggled to cover these players, and often perpetuated stereotypes and misconceptions. But there were also journalists who recognized the historic significance of this moment and worked to tell the players' stories accurately and sensitively.

Forgotten Four is not just a story about sports. It's a highly relevant film about race, politics, and culture in mid-20th-century America. The film is a vital reminder of the challenges and progress of the civil rights movement, and a tribute to these four pioneers who changed professional football forever.

Overall, Forgotten Four is a well-made, engaging documentary that sheds light on an important moment in both sports and civil rights history. The film is informative, moving, and essential viewing for anyone interested in American history, sports, or social justice.

Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football is a Documentary, Sport movie released in 2014. It has a runtime of 59. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.9..

Johnson McKelvy
Jeffrey Wright
Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football is available on .