I knew when my father was still alive," Cohen said. Kenny Washington passed away when daughter Karin Washington Cohen was only 15 years old.

In UCLA's trademark single-wing offense, Kenny Washington played left half back, a position that called upon him to pass and run. In order to play in the city's publicly-owned 92,000 seat stadium, the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Rams had to agree to hire African-American players. Kenny Washington at UCLA On the surface, the two shared much in common. Kenny Washington Biographyfrom Wikipedia Fans called for the Rams to sub in Washington throughout the game, and head coach Adam Walsh finally gave in with five minutes to play. The two faced off against each other on Dec. 21, 1941, with Washington tossing a 55-yard pass to Strode to defeat Robinsons Bulldogs. And when she got off, my mother looked white, and I still have the newspaper article, 'Kenny Washington and his negro bride,' because they wanted to be sure that everyone knew he was not marrying a white woman.". The browser you are using is no longer supported on this site.

Karl Downs of Scott United Methodist Church in Pasadena. Outside of the media, other successful ventures include the Kenny Washington Stadium Foundation restoring Kenny Washington Square in northeast Los Angeles and honoring Washington during the Rams final game at the Coliseum in late December last year, with Cohen and her family in attendance. No schools, interstates, or asteroids are named after him. Back at UCLA, Robinson struggled to fill Washingtons shoes, just as the Los Angeles Times had predicted.

He is sometimes referred to as the "Jackie Robinson of pro football." Nixon even spent election night drinking beer with Washington at his home, likely a stunt aimed at getting out the Black vote. Instead, Washington coached football at UCLA and joined the LAPD. 1 on all your lists. That December, Los Angeles Mayor Fletcher Bowron issued an official proclamation: In recognition of your 16 years as a great football player, your fine conduct and inspirational sportsmanship and your record as Policeman in curbing juvenile delinquency, the city of Los Angeles will recognize officially Dec. 12 as Kenny Washington Day. At halftime of the last game of the 1948 season, a throng of civic leaders and Washingtons former coaches gathered with him at the 50-yard line. Perhaps the greatest symbol of Washingtons historical erasure was his appearance in 1950s The Jackie Robinson Story. Washington with the Lincoln High School football team in 1962, in Los Angeles. But I always knew what he done. Its possible that Jackies story gripped the white American imagination in part because it can so easily be twisted to make us feel like this country has overcome its original sin: the Black trailblazer who crusaded to change a racist country and was widely embraced as a cultural hero. His career passing yards at UCLA totaled 1,300; his career total offense at UCLA was 3,206 yards. I think it's really good.". I come with my heart afire; Woody Strode - The Football Yearsvideo produced by Woody Strode, Kenny Washington's good friend and teammate at UCLA and in the NFL, Fields of Glory - Kenny Washington and Woody Strodean NFL video, Unsung heroes of Rams football integration, Fields of Glory - Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. But hes been replaced by a different man: Jackie Robinson. He was in there., While Washington was embraced on campus, Robinson was held at arms length, in part due to a run-in with a motorcycle policeman in Pasadena in September 1939 immediately before he arrived at UCLA. Football has been good to me.

In his senior year (1939), he rushed for 1,915 yards and led the nation in total offense; he also played safety on defense and played all but 20 minutes that entire season. A chldren's book about a great college football team reminds us that playing sports Kenneth S. Washington was born inLos Angelesand grew up in the city'sLincoln Heightsneighborhood. She took the train to Chicago. yankeewikis meteorologist

But the NFL usurped Major League Baseball as the nations sports obsession in part because Kenny Washington broke that same barrier. After placing 39th out of 1,837 candidates who took the departments entrance exam, Kenny joined the force in April 1942 and was appointed to the motorcycle detail a month later.

Soon, Washington dipped his own toe into politics, failing in a bid to become supervisor of L.A.s 2nd District. I thought it was Jim Brown," Cohen said.

Washington's father, Edgar "Blue" Washington, played professional baseball for the Negro League Kansas City Monarchs.

He was a star running back at Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles and from there attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). When he retired in 1948, 80,000 people attended his final game and the entire stadium gave him a standing ovation. So no matter who they're talking about, when the logo comes up, there's my father. Washington was gregarious, a big man on campus. When UCLAs head coach took Washington out of that USC game with 15 seconds to play, fans in the packed Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum stood and applauded for what seemed like an eternity.

I come with SONG OF INNOCENCE by Julius E. Thompson.

But he eventually gave in, and rushed for 60 yards in a contest that went off without any major incidentsthough the 500 Black fans in attendance were forced to sit in segregated seating in the end zone. The Black sports writers who stumped for Washington werent nave. "I may not have realized quite the magnitude of it, but I knew what it was. According to Hank Shatford of the Pasadena Junior College Chronicle, When [Robinson] felt he was right and the other guy was wrong, he didnt hesitate. The NFL was midway through a ban on black players that had been pushed by Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall. After football be became an officer in the Los Angeles Police Department. He was raised by his grandmother Susie and his uncle Rocky, the first Black uniformed lieutenant in theLos Angeles Police Department(LAPD). Its hallowed diamond would be a placeat least, a simplified version of his story suggestswhere, in the long run, merit is rewarded and fairness reigns. They led the Bruins to a 604 record and within 4 yards of defeating intracity (and all-white) rival USC and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl. But in less than a week, he was given his walking papers. Working under head of scouting Al Campanis in 1964, Washington helped convince outfielder Willie Crawford to bypass a promising college football career and sign with the Dodgers. A handful of Black players had competed in the NFL during the leagues first 13 years of existence, but the leagues owners enacted a gentlemans agreement in 1933, unofficially banning Black players. Rams general manager Charles Chile Walsh hemmed and hawed, publicly vowing that the Rams would not bar any player on the basis of race, but privately fearing a racist backlash from owners around the league. O Africa! Many thought he should have been selected first-team All-America but was not because of his race.

But perhaps its a mistake to equate them at all. This is the real answer to ending discrimination, he said. There Is Now a Rory McIlroy. Newspaper articles over the following years and an on-camera interview appearance for an NFL special in her 30s continued Cohen's education on her father's legacy. Karin explained that her mother June had told her that Kennys time on the force was likely the angriest period of his life. In October 1948, around the time of the release of Rogues Regiment, a film in which he co-starred, Washington told the Pittsburgh Courier that he now preferred acting over football. That preseason, the Rams were scheduled to play the reigning NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles in an exhibition game in Dallas, the first integrated professional football game in the Deep South. The Rams chose Kenny Washington and his former UCLA teammate Woody Strode to be their first African-American players -- and the first to play in the modern NFL. He played both baseball and football at Lincoln High School, where he was nicknamed "Kingfish" and led both teams to city championships in the same calendar year. [] Of course, it was a pipe dream., Longtime NFL referee Jim Tunney, whose father coached Washington at Lincoln High School, remembers bumping into the football legend toward the end of his life. During the lead-up to this past Super Bowl, a CBS segment at last acknowledged his singular breakthroughcalling it a Jackie Robinson moment. So why, all these decades later, dont we talk about Jackie Robinsons debut as a Kenny Washington moment? Of course, Kenny hasnt got a whole lot of years on the gridiron ahead of him, but well string along with him for our moneys worth, never having been robbed yet, wrote Washingtons most vocal advocate, Halley Harding, a Los Angeles Tribune sports writer. Unsung heroes of Rams football integrationhow Kenny Washington and Woody Strode broke the NFL's color barrier. However, not long after reporting to Rams training camp in late July 1946, he again tweaked his knee.

Soon, more sources would contribute. When teammate Bob Waterfield tracked them down and urged them to come back to the original hotel and be with their team, Washington and Strode held up their Tom Collinses, gestured to Basie, and told Waterfield that theyd rather stay segregated. (In contrast, Jackie Robinson forced the issue when he was told he could not stay with the rest of the Dodgers at the Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis. In 1939, along with Woody Strode and Jackie Robinson (later to play baseball for the Brooklyn Dodgers), Washington played in a powerful UCLA backfield that vied with national champion and cross-town rival USC for the Pacific Conference Championship and the chance to play in the 1940 Rose Bowl. Given his popularity, it is no surprise that politicians soon sought him out. When World War II started, Robinson enlisted in the Army, but knee surgery kept Washington out of the service and sidelined him from football. After graduating from UCLA, Kenny Washington could not play in the National Football League because African-Ameicans were not allowed. Seventy-five years ago, when Major League Baseball was entirely east of the Mississippi River and Jackie Robinson was still playing north of the border for the Montreal Royals, Kenny Washington was in a Los Angeles Rams uniform, trotting onto the grass of the Coliseum. It was not until Alexander Wolffs 2009 Sports Illustrated story The NFLs Jackie Robinson that Kirk realized his grandfather had done something of historical significance. Somehow, having a gun pulled on him after a white motorist called him and his friends the N-word marked him as dangerous at UCLA. Racial prejudice also was the reason he was not selected to play in the East-West Shrine Game that year.