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.
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Watch the trailer below: