Book Review: ‘Forgotten First’ Remembers Football History | Way of life

Your team will win this weekend.

You can already see how they’ve played so far this season, and you’re sure they can continue until February. But for now, this weekend is a must-see and everyone is looking great. Some people play on the shoulders of giants, like Key Shawn Johnson and Bob Glauber’s “The Forgotten First”.

If you are a baseball fan, you know how Jackie Robinson became the first black ball player in Major League Baseball. What you might not know is that four black men entered professional football a year before Robinson’s inning in history.

Kenny Washington, who signed with the Los Angeles Rams on March 21, 1946, was abandoned by his mother because his father had other interests and was raised by his paternal uncle. At first he was drawn to baseball, but in fact he could play any sport. Fighting rickets from a young age, he had deformities in his legs, which was not a problem. Johnson and Glauber report Washington was faster.

So was Woody Strode, who signed on for the Rams shortly after Washington. Strode’s mother was Native American. His father was black, and Strode had a modeling career in his youth (he once bred nudity for Nazi artists) and served in the Army Air Corps, but his life always reverted to football.

When he was a child, Marion Motley was much taller than his peers, so when he played football, the parents of the other child told him “so that the clash with him does not hurt too much”. Asked me to carry more towels. Long after, Motley played for the Cleveland Browns. Bill Willis rarely played soccer because he didn’t expect to be able to play like his brother Claude.

In a few months, these four men have crossed the color barrier of professional football. And the author says: “The story is not fully told …”.

Another thing that is not fully talked about is what happened before these four men signed to their respective teams, and how their first year went. It’s annoying, mind-boggling, and all placed here in the “first forgotten”.

Yet getting there may not be that easy.

The authors, Keyshawn Johnson and Bob Glauber, are former NFL professionals and columnists respectively, and the stories they tell are the hearts of fans with extensive knowledge of soccer teams, players, coaches and balls. mid-20th century academics. Talk to. .. It’s a vast story that spans decades to dozens of people around us who have been involved in integrating generations of athletes from high school to the top. Next, let’s take a reader’s tour and reveal the inside of today’s game.

And if you are a fan, this is all fascinating. If you are not a fan of history, football, and makeup, you might be wondering about this book. However, if you are crazy about the game, “The Forgotten First” is a big win.

“The Forgotten First: Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley, Bill Willis and the Breaking of the NFL Color Barrier,” Keyshawn Johnson and Bob Glauber, 2021, Grand Central Publishing, $ 28, p. 335

Book Review: ‘Forgotten First’ Remembers Football History | Way of life

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