'The Forgotten First' by Keyshawn Johnson: The story of desegregating the NFL : NPR's Book of the Day You've likely heard the names of Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall — the first African Americans to desegregate public schools, baseball and the Supreme Court. But do you know the names of Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley or Bill Willis? Unless you're a football fan, you likely haven't. And that's what Keyshawn Johnson is trying to rectify in his book The Forgotten First, the story of the men who helped break the NFL's color barrier. NPR's A Martinez sat down with Johnson to discuss those four men, and the legacy they left behind.

The trailblazing Black football players that history books forgot

The trailblazing Black football players that history books forgot

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Grand Central Publishing
the cover of 'The Forgotten First'
Grand Central Publishing

You've likely heard the names of Ruby Bridges, Jackie Robinson and Thurgood Marshall — the first African Americans to desegregate public schools, baseball and the Supreme Court. But do you know the names of Kenny Washington, Woody Strode, Marion Motley or Bill Willis? Unless you're a football fan, you likely haven't. And that's what Keyshawn Johnson is trying to rectify in his book The Forgotten First, the story of the men who helped break the NFL's color barrier. NPR's A Martinez sat down with Johnson to discuss those four men, and the legacy they left behind.

Want to learn more?

Find out where to buy The Forgotten First online.

Listen to the original interview with A Martinez.

Read more about the desegregation of the NFL, particularly of how the Washington Football Team was finally pushed to do so.