Premium entertainment network EPIX announced today that Forgotten Four: The Integration of Pro Football, an EPIX Original Documentary, will make its World Premiere on Tuesday, September 23 at 8 p.m. ET. The 60-minute documentary, narrated by Tony Award® winner Jeffrey Wright and produced by 52 time Emmy® award winner Ross Greenburg, tells the little-known story of four 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 is the Denver Broncos on August 2, 2014.
Numerous other NFL teams have confirmed to host events 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 remarkable pioneers. Those interviewed 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."