BY KIERSTEN WILLIS | ATLANTA BLACKSTAR
After learning about a little-known Black football player who integrated the NFL, a New York fifth grade class started a petition demanding that Kenny Washington be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
According to Change.org, Liza Turner and Heather Rice’s classes at Johnson City Intermediate School were researching for a civil rights project when one student wondered who broke the color barrier for football. The 44 students learned Washington signed with the Los Angeles Rams in 1946, integrating the sport after a 12-year ban on Blacks entering the league. Washington became the University of California, Los Angeles’ first All-American in 1939. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956, but the running back never got inducted into the pro hall of fame.
By contrast, Jackie Robinson – who integrated the MLB in 1946 – was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1963, according to the official website.
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[/otw_shortcode_info_box][mashshare]National Football League
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL’s 17-week regular season runs from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference (four division winners and two wild card teams) advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. Wikipedia
Hank Willis Thomas, Other Peoples’ Property is a photo conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture. He received a BFA in Photography and Africana studies from New York University and his MFA/MA in Photography and Visual Criticism from the California College of Arts. Thomas’ monograph, Pitch Blackness, was published by Aperture. He has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad including, the International Center of Photography, Galerie Michel Rein in Paris, Studio Museum in Harlem, Galerie Henrik Springmann in Berlin, and the Baltimore Museum of Art, among others.
Thomas’ work is in numerous public collections including The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The High Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. His collaborative projects have been featured at the Sundance Film Festival and installed permanently at the Oakland International Airport, The Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, The Oakland Museum of California, and the University of California, San Francisco. He is also and a recipient of the New Media grant from Tribeca Film Institute and New Media Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography for his transmedia project, Question Bridge: Black Males. Recent notable exhibitions include Hank Willis Thomas at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Repetition and Difference at the Jewish Museum in New York. He was recently appointed to the Public Design Commission for the city of New York. Thomas is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City and Goodman Gallery in South Africa. Hank Willis Thomas