Kenny Washington was the First African-American to sign a contract in the NFL. He actually broke the color barrier in U.S. professional sports before Jackie Robinson(who was also his college football teammate), yet no one ever mentions his name. It has a lot to do with baseball being the far more popular sport at the time, but Branch Rickey got the idea of signing Jackie Robinson because Kenny Washington and Woody Strode(also his ucla football teammate) played in the NFL first. Woody Strode was also an actor. Also check out the book “The Black Bruins”. Check out the article below too.
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