• lacoliseumThe #LosAngelesMemorialColiseum is proud to recognize February as #BlackHistoryMonth and celebrate the achievements of African Americans and their role in both our history, as well as the history of the United States.

    We are fortunate that over the last 94 years our stadium has hosted thousands of events before 117 million spectators which featured some of the most recognizable African American athletes, performers and dignitaries who not only define universal human aspiration, but whose accomplishments continue to inspire generations; including among others, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Kenny Washington, Carl Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

    Today the #Coliseum is proud to celebrate the legacy of athlete Kenny Washington. A local Angeleno raised in Lincoln Heights, he went to college at UCLA, where his incredible athleticism earned him a reputation in both football & baseball (playing alongside the great Jackie Robinson). In 1939, Washington became the first UCLA player to be named an All-American.

    After he graduated, however, he was passed over by the NFL because at the time, the league was in the midst of what would prove to be a 12-year ban on African American players. Undeterred, Washington pushed ahead and became the biggest star- and most popular player- in two minor professional leagues on the West Coast. On February 10, 1946, the Kenny Washington All-Stars took on the All Service All Stars at the Coliseum before a crowd of nearly 20,000.
    When the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles, the team sought to play in the publicly owned Coliseum- a decision which created immediate pressure that the team be racially integrated, since taxpayers of all races had paid for construction of the facility. As a result, the NFL lifted its race ban and the Rams signed Washington on March 21, 1946, followed by fellow African American UCLA teammate Woody Strode.
    In 1971, for his legendary contribution to sports, #KennyWashington was honored by the Coliseum with a "Court of Honor" plaque. He was also inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1956 and his number 13 jersey was the first to be retired at #UCLA.

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