One year before Jackie Robinson stormed through MLB's color barrier, Kenny Washington, Woody Strode and Bill Willis, shattered the glass ceiling forbidding African-Americans from playing pro football. However, the foursome's journey hasn't been shouted from the rooftops and told to to the masses as loudly as Robinson's. There is no Hollywood movie that tells their tale, but next month EPIX will air an original documentary that will share their struggle, triumphs and give some perspective about their rightful place in history. The 60-minute documentary is narrated by Tony Award winning actor Jeffrey Wright and will air Sept. 23, 014 at 8 pm ET.
The hardships and triumphs of the Forgotten Four are told through the recollections of their families and those who have researched these remarkable 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 its 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."