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Trailer: ‘Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football’ Narrated by Jeffrey Wright (Coming 9/23)

Trailer: 'Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football' Narrated by Jeffrey Wright (Coming 9/23)

Premium entertainment network EPIX has announced that “Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football,” an EPIX Original Documentary, will make its World Premiere on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, at 8PM ET.

The 60-minute documentary, narrated by Jeffrey Wright and produced by Ross Greenburg, tells the little-known story of 4 outstanding and brave African American men – Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley and Bill Willis – who broke the color barrier in pro football in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were credited with integrating Major League Baseball.

EPIX has joined forces with the National Football League to celebrate the achievements of the Forgotten Four with local screenings in NFL team markets across the country, followed by panel discussions on the current state of race relations and athletics. The first team to kick off the commemoration was the Denver Broncos on August 2, 2014. Other NFL teams confirmed to host events, as of now, include the Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Washington Redskins. More teams will be announced over the coming weeks.

The hardships and triumphs of the Forgotten Four are told through the recollections of their families and those who have researched these pioneers. Those interviewed for this Epix Original Documentary include Forgotten Four family members Tony Motley (Marion Motley’s grandson), Mike Brown (Paul Brown’s son), Clem and William Willis, Jr. (Bill Willis’ sons), Karin L. Cohen (Kenny Washington’s daughter) and Kalai Strode (Woody Strode’s son). 

An all-star lineup of football legends also shares their insights, including: Don Shula (Hall of Fame coach who also played for the Cleveland Browns), Bob Gain, Sherman Howard, Jim Hardy (Los Angeles Rams) and George Taliaferro (Indiana University). Participating writers/historians include Joe Horrigan (Pro Football Hall of Fame), Lonnie G. Bunch (National Museum of African American History and Culture), Khalil Gibran Muhammad (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture), Jarrett Bell (USA Today) and Brad Pye, Jr. (Los Angeles Sentinel).

“EPIX is pleased to work with the National Football League to bring the story of these trailblazers in civil rights and professional sports to a new national audience,” said Mark Greenberg, President and CEO, EPIX. “We believe Forgotten Four presents an insightful and informative account of the profound impact these courageous men had on the sport.”

“Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football,” was produced by Ross Greenburg and directed by Johnson McKelvy. Ross Greenburg and Wesley E. Smith are executive producers. Ross Bernard is executive producer and Jill Burkhart is producer for EPIX. Donovan McNabb, former star NFL quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, served as creative consultant for the film.

Join the conversation about #ForgottenFour on Twitter, on Facebook and on the EPIX webpage

Watch the trailer below:

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I thought Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall were the first African-Americans to play in the NFL in 1920.


At first I was a bit confused when they said four, because I was under the impression Washington and Strode were the only ones to break the color line in modern pro football when they joined the Los Angeles Rams in 1946. As it turns out, they were the first in the NFL. Motley and Willis were signed to the Cleveland Browns, which at that time were in the upstart All-American Football Conference. The Browns didn't join the NFL until 1950.

I say modern pro football because Fritz Pollard played pro football as a player-coach in the 1920s. I'm curious to see if he'll be mentioned in the documentary.

I don't have cable, so I'm hoping it will show up on Netflix within a few months from its premiere on Epix. Netflix usually has an excellent selection of documentaries.


This looks like a fascinating documentary and I would love to see it. …Have never even heard of EPIX. … The thousand channel universe can really kill content sometimes. … This would have been great on PBS or ESPN — somewhere where it might actually be seen by viewers.


I will have to see if I have the channel EPIX on Cablevision. If I don't have it than hopefully I can watch this online here at Shadow and Act or on Netflix. I WANT TO SEE IT!!!


This looks interesting, too bad my free trial(w/Epix) on Timer Warner ended a couple of months ago. Hopefully this makes its way to Netflix(either DVD or Streaming) in the future.

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